News and Notes from Buffalo Bills Rookie Camp


News and Notes from Buffalo Bills Rookie Camp

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The Buffalo Bills held their third and final practice on Sunday at One Bills Drive as rookie minicamp drew to a conclusion. All together, 39 players participated in minicamp, highlighted by the Bills’ six draft picks.

As expected there were many lessons to be learned, but for the most part, the Bills’ six draft picks performed well throughout the weekend.

Here are some news and notes from Bills’ rookie camp:

Ronald Darby connects with Donnie Henderson

Buffalo Bills defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson was all over second-round pick Ronald Darby, constantly instructing and helping him become acclimated with life in the NFL.

“He’s not the type of coach that will sit back and let you do whatever you want to and try to talk to you later,” said Darby. “He wants to fix it right there on the spot and give you a lot of details. He helps you a lot.”

While there is still lots to help Darby with, his raw talent was on display during 7-on-7 drills, where Darby shined in press coverage situations. Although not many balls were thrown his way, he looked very fluid in coverage, which was something head coach Rex Ryan pointed out.

“His movement is outstanding,” said Ryan. “He can probably run with anybody in the league so that was no surprise. It looked like he grasped things pretty quickly. I heard that Donnie (Henderson) was already talking to him about his interception points instead of just sticking to a guy. Having a guy that can mentor him will be a big plus for him. He has all the physical tools.”

Wide receiver will be interesting come training camp

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  • Barring an injury, we all know the Bills top three receivers will be Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Percy Harvin. But after those three, the battle for the last few spots on the depth chart will be very interesting come training camp.

    Chris Hogan figures to slot in as the team’s No. 4 wide receiver, but players like seventh-round pick Dezmin Lewis and practice squad players Caleb Holley and Tobais Palmer should provide Marquise Goodwin with a tough challenge. Goodwin caught only one pass in 2014 and was ineffective in the return game earlier in the season.

    While injuries did factor into his ineffectiveness, the time for Goodwin to contribute is now. With speed being his biggest asset, something the Bills have an abundance of now, it’s fair to assume that the team would choose a player like Lewis over Goodwin since his size on the outside is a big plus.

    Also, with special teams contributors like Marcus Easley and Marcus Thigpen on the roster, how the final spots on the receiver depth chart unfold will be interesting to watch.

    Nick O’Leary impresses

    O’Leary stood out during team drills and looks to be an instant contributor to the Bills offence this season. Even though he was a sixth-round pick, it’s no secret how talented O’Leary is. He won the Mackey Award last season at Florida State, which goes to college football’s top tight end, and he was a constant safety valve for quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Another person not surprised by O’Leary’s performance was head coach Rex Ryan.

    We all saw it on tape,” said Ryan. “Again he wins the Mackey Award, has more receptions and yardage for tight ends than any other guy for two years in a row so clearly we know he can catch the football. He caught one in tight space with two guys on him and another one he was up the seam. One thing we know is if he’s around it he’s going to catch it.”

    In Greg Roman’s two tight end sets, O’Leary should see plenty of playing time opposite Charles Clay. Although his blocking could use some work, he is a dynamic player that should help in the receiving game.

    Open roster spot

    The Buffalo Bills had an open spot on their 90-man offseason roster, as the team did not sign Southern Illinois offensive tackle Jermaine Barton. The opening provided extra incentive for all the tryout players, however, the team decided to sign tryout safety Wes Miller from UTEP yesterday to round out the 90-man offseason roster.

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