Well, it's that time of year again, the sun is oppressively hot as July is rapidly drawing to a close and you know what that means... BILLS TRAINING CAMP is almost here! There is always plenty of excitement surrounding camp as it is the time where we see the lineup start to take shape but this year I am more way more pumped than usual (Spoiler Alert: I say that every year) While this offseason didn't feature any moves that matched the caliber of excitement we saw last offseason bringing in names like LeSean McCoy and Charles Clay and naming Rex our new head coach we did bring in some nice depth additions in free agency as well as several immediate defensive contributors through the draft to a team that is FINALLY seeing some much needed continuity on offense. I chose the five guys that I am the most intrigued to get a look as camp begins:
1. James Wilder Jr. - RB
James Wilder Jr. was initially brought in to the league by Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent in 2014 following a very solid collegiate career at FSU that included 2 ACC championships (2012, 2013), an ACC Offensive MVP award (2013) and a BCS national championship (2014). He spent his time with the Bengals as a member of the practice squad but is very eager to earn a roster spot here in Buffalo. We talked at length about the current shakeup at RB2 on our latest episode of the podcast, with Karlos Willams suspended this just might be the opportunity Wilder has been waiting for. At 6' 3, 232 lbs. this dude just SCREAMS power run game, check his highlight reel if you don't believe me.
2. Robert Blanton - S
Robert Blanton is a 5th year vet originally drafted by the Vikings in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. While it is highly unlikely that he will be taking any jobs away from the Aaron Williams and Corey Grahams of the world this definitely feels like another trademark sleeper signing by Doug Whaley. Blanton is a very capable and aggressive player that could likely thrive in a Rex Ryan defense, guys like Jonatan Meeks and Duke Williams are going to have some rugged competition come camp time.
3. Dez Lewis - WR
Alright, I don't know what it is about last years 7th round pick, Dez Lewis but I can't stop hoping to see this kid make it. Maybe its because he's a small school guy that got drafted late and stuck on the practice squad and i just love an underdog story or maybe it's just been too long since the Bills have a had a big ass receiver to lob passes to in the red zone but this guy definitely fits both descriptions. There has already been some stirs of excitement about his play during OTAs and workouts from the coaching staff and with Chris Hogan's departure the WR3 spot is evidently up for grabs.
4. Cardale Jones - QB
I love that we drafted Cardale Jones! I love it! He is a winner, and it shows in his personality. Now I realize that personality has never won a football game but you couple that with a cannon of an arm... shoot, you might win an NCAA championship or two. Barring any unforeseen injuries Jones probably won't play past preseason BUT he does have the chance to cement his spot as QB2, a strong camp and preseason for Jones could easily become a one way ticket to free agency for E.J. Manuel in 2017.
5. Adolphus Washington - DT
I finish my list with another Ohio State rookie, 3rd round pick Adolphus Washington. I'm really interested to see if this guy can hang on the professional level. He shows some badass pass rushing ability but there are concerns about his speed and agility especially his first step. Ideally his raw talents should be enough to get him into the rotation and there is a good possibility that he could develop in to a viable starter if he can take direction from the guys around him. I view his pick as an insurance policy for the aging Kyle Williams who missed 10 games in 2015 and ended the season on the injured reserve after his back surgery. Those are some big shoes to fill indeed...
There's my list for better or for worse. Make sure you check out our podcast, we will keep you up to date on all the good camp details! Now that my list is out of the way who are you interested in watching at camp? hit me up on Twitter @NumbBillsAdamD or email me at: Adam@NumbBillsFan.com and let me know who you think is gonna be turning heads at training camp.