The spring workouts for the Bills are in the books, and while OTA and minicamp practices are far from real football it doesn't mean there weren't some impressive performances turned in by players over the past month. Below we highlight some of the better play turned in by members of the Bills roster through May and June.
Most improved:CB Justin Rogers
The second-year cornerback looks considerably more comfortable in Buffalo's secondary. Lining up at both boundary corner and in the slot in the first team nickel at times, Rogers made his share of plays in defending the pass. Though he missed some time with an injury in OTAs, he's added lean muscle to his frame and appears ready to challenge for a top three corner role.
Most encouraging:DE Shawne Merriman
It was thought that the jury would still be out on Merriman at this point, but he surprisingly participated fully in the OTA and minicamp practices. Thought he's switching from OLB to DE, Merriman has looked quick and sudden on his rushes and has shown an ability to bend the corner and get pressure. When the pads go on in camp a lot more will be known, but already the defensive staff has to feel very encouraged by what the veteran has put on display.
Most consistent:S George Wilson, WR David Nelson
Day in and day out both Wilson and Nelson have been heavily involved in the action during the team periods whether it's 11-on-11, 7-on-7, two-minute drill or red zone. Wilson might know Buffalo's offense as well as he knows the defense, while Nelson's on-field chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick might be peaking already.
Best unit:Defensive line
Through the spring workouts it'd be very hard to top the performance of Buffalo's defensive line. What's scary is in addition to Mario Williams smacking passes out of the air, Mark Anderson giving offensive linemen fits and Kyle Williams' surprise participation coming off Achilles surgery, the Bills second unit doesn't show much, if any, drop off with veteran talent to spare. This is a very imposing group of players.
Best rookie:CB Stephon Gilmore, OT Cordy Glenn
Gilmore and Glenn were both thrown in with the starting units when OTAs began and both had their legs firmly underneath them from the beginning. Gilmore didn't back down from anyone and displayed a distinct edge to his game that most wide-eyed rookies do not possess. Glenn played every snap with the starters at left tackle and had a minimal number of mental errors and missed assignments going against the best that the defensive front had to offer. Going into camp both appear to have inside tracks on starting roles.
Biggest surprise:FB/TE Dorin Dickerson
Dickerson was far from a big free agent signing, but routinely saw time with the starting unit on offense and made more than his share of plays in the team setting. With unique skills as an H-back with a good camp he stands an excellent chance of carving out a niche for himself in Chan Gailey's attack for 2012.
Biggest playmakers –Offense – Scott Chandler, Defense – George Wilson
Chandler was a daily fixture on the highlight reel for the offense, especially in the red zone where he was a major matchup problem for the defense. He and Fitzpatrick appear to have their on-field chemistry fine tuned for training camp.
In what are largely passing camps when you have four interceptions in 13 practices to lead the defense you're doing pretty well. Knowing other players in the secondary trust Wilson's direction and have been put in position to make plays of their own make him all the more valuable.