Shortly after not hearing his name called in the NFL Draft, North Carolina State offensive tackle Tyson Chandler became instantly coveted by several NFL teams. After deliberation between Chandler and his agent, the two deemed Buffalo as the best fit. While the roster is deep and talented, only three other tackles are currently on the roster, opening an unusual opportunity for the undrafted free agent.
Listed at 6-7 and 354 pounds, Chandler has ideal size for either the left or right tackle position. While his imposing stature is a great attribute, perhaps Chandler's greatest trait is his rare arm length of nearly 37-inches. Throughout his career in the ACC, Chandler was able to rely on his length and surprisingly quick feet in his 35 career starts as a member of the Wolfpack. Now, it's a completely different ballgame as he adapts to routinely seeing some of the best pass rushers that the NFL as to offer.
"It doesn't get much better than Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes," said Chandler. "When I first got here I was a bit starstruck but now it's simply all about going out there and blocking them."
In what is known as a challenging offense to learn, Chandler has demonstrated a veteran-like mental approach throughout rookie minicamp and OTA practices. Spending extra time with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, he's been able to seamlessly transition what he has learned in the classroom to the playing field. Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn has been especially impressed by Chandler's work ethic both on and off the field.
"From what I can tell he's been doing very well," said Glenn. "He's catching onto everything. Being a rookie the biggest thing for him is just playing fast and not slowing down because of mental confusion. From everything that I've seen, he's continued to do his job over and over."
Although Chandler played primarily at right tackle throughout his collegiate career, the 24-year old has gotten the opportunity to work at both tackle positions thus far in OTA practices. Gaining experience at both sides has allowed him to test the versatility of his skill set.
"I've learned a lot technique-wise from Cyrus Kouandjio when I've been lined up at right tackle," said Chandler. "He's a young guy who is really smart and putting it all together. I've also learned a lot from Cordy Glenn. He's the most experienced guy out of the group and he carries himself very well both on and off the field."
In Greg Roman's system, each offensive lineman is given a multitude of duties and techniques to master. Taking the challenge head on, Chandler has worked extensively with coach Kromer to pick up the wide array of blocking techniques that are employed by Roman's offense. Because NFL teams usually like to carry four capable offensive tackles on the 53-man roster, Chandler knows that if he continues improve, he has a strong chance to make good on his lifelong dream.
"With only three other tackles on the roster it's tough not to be excited," said Chandler. "It's also been great to work at both left and right tackle to show how dynamic I am and how I can help in multiple areas. I'm going to continue to work my butt off because I understand how great of an opportunity I have here."