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Around the AFC East, Week 1 - Buffalo Bills

Last, but not least, we chat it up with Brian Galliford from Buffalo Rumblings.

PP: Some media pundits are proclaiming fourth rounder, TE Shawn Nelson, as just what the doctor ordered for the Bills.  Apparently, this guy is a monster and is quick and fast to boot.  Do you feel he'll add significantly to the team right away or is he more of a "grooming" prospect for 2010?

BR: I'd love to tell you that the answer to that question is "both".  The last time Buffalo had a legitimate receiving threat at tight end, Jay Riemersma was catching passes from Doug Flutie.  Before that, Pete Metzelaars was a favorite target of Jim Kelly.  It has been a long time since the Bills had a tight end that can make plays in the passing game.  Even as a fourth-round pick, Nelson is by leaps and bounds the most talented player the Bills have had at the position in well over a decade.

In terms of sheer statistical production, I don't expect a lot - Buffalo has three wide receivers (Terrell Owens, Lee Evans, Josh Reed) that are currently or will be favorite targets of QB Trent Edwards.  The team also has three running backs (Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, Dominic Rhodes) that combined to catch 129 passes last season.  Edwards isn't short of weapons in the passing game by any stretch of the imagination, so Nelson's opportunities will probably be limited.  But that doesn't mean he won't play early and often.

I've called Nelson the key to Buffalo's transition to the no-huddle offense - a move that they will reportedly attempt to make heading into the 2009 season.  (With five pre-season games this year, they've got more time than usual to make a change like that.)  Nelson is the one tight end on the roster that can play in-line and line up in the slot - and in a no-huddle offense, that versatility will be very helpful.  Outside of Missouri's Chase Coffman (now a Bengal), I thought that Nelson had the best set of hands on any receiving prospect in the draft - and he's an excellent athlete.  He will cause problems simply because he can run - and that will open things up for his quite talented teammates.  Even if he's not catching many passes, his presence helps further open up an offense that was already going to be wide-open - and that will be more valuable than the receptions, yards and touchdowns he puts up this year.

Interesting perspective on the no-huddle.  I, for one, think it's an incredible weapon when done correctly (Colts anyone?) and don't look forward to Buffalo developing expertise in it.

Thanks to Brian G from Buffalo Rumblings for his thoughts on Shawn Nelson.  Don't forget to head on over to our other AFC East blogs for my answers.  I may need some help. ;-)