Bills: State of the TE Position

The Bills have Scott Chandler, MarQueis Gray and Chris Gragg under contract heading into the 2015 season. Do the Bills need to add another tight end or two this offseason? All signs point to yes.

The Buffalo Bills have three tight ends on their roster heading into 2015, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that the team will address the position in free agency or the draft. Currently, the two has a steady pass catcher in Scott Chandler and two unknowns in MarQueis Gray and Chris Gragg. Here’s a snapshot of the current Bills tight ends.

Scott Chandler

2014 Snapshot (16 games): 47 receptions, 497 yards, 3 TD

Chandler has been Buffalo’s pass catching tight end since 2011. This season was a bit of a letdown for the tight end. Chandler’s 497 yards were his lowest since 2011. His reception total was only six off of his career high of 53, set in 2013, so Chandler was steady in this area.

In 2014, Chandler played over 400 more snaps than any other tight end. Lee Smith, a free agent, was the only other tight end to see over 300 snaps with the team. According to Pro Football Focus, Chandler had a decent season as a pass blocker, but wasn’t an effective run blocker. Chandler was also the team’s most penalized tight end, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise based upon snap counts.

Chandler is by no means a No. 1 tight end, but he’s still a solid and reliable option for the Bills as a pass catcher.

MarQueis Gray

2014 Snapshot (9 games): 9 receptions for 134 yards

Gray played eight games with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 before getting cut by the team. Buffalo claimed Gray and in five games with the team, Gray caught eight passes for 118 yards. His playing time in Buffalo was limited (124 snaps), but Gray caught every pass that was thrown in his direction by Kyle Orton. Gray is an intriguing option with plenty of upside. Currently, Gray is Buffalo’s most athletic tight end.

The former college quarterback is only 25 years old and is in his third season at the position. He’s still learning and things started clicking for him in Buffalo. Even if the Bills sign or draft a tight end, Gray could have a long-term future in Buffalo.

Chris Gragg

2014 Snapshot (10 games): 7 receptions, 48 yards, 1 TD

Lee Smith was certainly Buffalo’s top blocking tight end in 2014, but Gragg proved to be a solid blocker in his limited time on the field. In 10 games, Gragg caught seven passes on nine targets for 48 yards. PFF gave Gragg positive grades as a run blocker and pass blocker. It’s one area that he has working in his favor among his current peers.

Gragg has good straight-line speed, but in actual route running, the tight end looks a bit awkward. He has a limited upside as a receiver, but his blocking ability could prove valuable to this year’s coaching staff.

Verdict: The Bills will most certainly add another tight end this offseason. Recently, GM Doug Whaley said that Roman is big on tight ends.

“Yes, we’re going to have to expand on tight end,” said GM Doug Whaley. “Greg Roman is a big tight end guy. He likes to use three to four tight ends so we’re going to have to add some tight ends. We’re also going to need to start over at fullback.”

There are plenty of strong options in free agency, and a few options in the draft as well. Roman will certainly have his input on which tight end he’d like to see on the Bills in 2015.


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