Nick O'Leary among Bills' bubble players closest to being locks

Continuing a monthlong series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they potentially fit in 2015:

Name: Nick O'Leary

Position: Tight end

Age: 22

2014 stats: 14 games, 48 receptions (618 yards, six touchdowns; at Florida State)

Chance of making 53-man roster: 80 percent

Why he should make it: O'Leary lands at the top end of our "bubble," just below the threshold where we'd consider a player to be a lock to make the roster. As the Mackey Award winner last season as college football's best tight end, he could be a tough player to sneak onto the practice squad if the Buffalo Bills were to cut him at the end of this summer. That gives him some roster security over his competition -- MarQueis Gray, Chris Gragg, Matthew Mulligan and undrafted rookie Clay Burton. O'Leary was a productive college tight end with the upside to win some matchups as an NFL tight end. Even if he isn't the No. 2 tight end behind Charles Clay this season, it makes sense to keep O'Leary around. The Bills could keep as many as four tight ends on their 53-man roster.

Why he shouldn't make it: As for why O'Leary isn't a lock to make the 53-man roster, I'll point to a comment from general manager Doug Whaley in his pre-draft news conference this spring. "In my opinion, just right off the bat, it’s going to be hard for not even an undrafted rookie to make it, but even our sixth- and seventh-round guys just because of the depth we’ve had and the numbers that are on the roster already," Whaley said. O'Leary is a sixth-round pick, which puts him in the category of rookies who aren't guaranteed a roster spot. After standing out on the practice field in rookie camp, I didn't see as much out of O'Leary during organized team activities and minicamp. The Bills used Clay, Gragg, Gray and even Burton with their first-team offense in their "two-spot" drill (simultaneous 11-on-11 drills), so it would be a projection to say O'Leary will slide into the No. 2 role behind Clay. The Bills' addition of Mulligan last week points to a concern among the coaching staff that they don't have adequate blocking tight ends on the roster. If Mulligan can earn a roster spot as Lee Smith did in recent seasons for Buffalo, and either Gragg or Gray (or both) take steps forward this summer, O'Leary could get caught in a numbers game and be cut. The odds are against it, but it's a possibility nonetheless.

Closest competition: Gray, Gragg, Burton