The Buffalo Bills have officially added another body to the tight end fray this training camp.
Fourth-round draft pick Derek Fine was signed to undisclosed terms today. The Kansas tight end joins a shaky bunch at TE on the Bills.
Fine will compete with Robert Royal (recovering from surgery), free agent pickup Courtney Anderson, Tim Massaquoi and Derek Schouman.
Fine is the second shortest of the group at 6-foot-2, but may have the best hands.
At Kansas, he was a three-year starter and set the school's tight end record with 98 receptions. He totaled 1,009 yards and 10 touchdowns during his tenure. During the Jayhawks' story-book '07 season, Fine had 46 catches and was often the key to initiated the offense's rhythm. Fine was used in-motion, in the backfield and in the slot.
Fine is the third rookie to sign with Buffalo. The team also has cornerbacks Reggie Corner and Kennard Cox under contract.
The tight end didn't see a ton of action during OTAs with the veterans ahead of him on the depth chart. He's eager to display his blocking skills at training camp.
"I'm not real big," Fine said. "I'm kind of right in the middle and I like that because I think it helps me out and I like being versatile and playing different positions and on special teams. I like playing football and so for me at my size I think it's an advantage because I like to do it all."
Look for the tight end to see a lot of special teams action early on. He played on all four units for Kansas.
"He's a guy that all four years he was at Kansas he played on all four special teams," said Buffalo special teams coordinator Bobby April on the team's website. "He played on everything for four years. I saw him on film play on special teams so I know what he can do and he's fantastic. I think he's a good tight end and he's going to play tight end, but we put a lot of priority in him and investment in him because I think he's going to be a knock down drag out special teamer. I think he's really going to be good."
Still, you have to think that Fine will get a good, long look as an instant contributor on special teams. Unless Anderson finally taps on the potential he showed in Oaklan early in his career, the position is completely up for grabs.
Considering Trent Edwards' affinity for locating the tight end, this is a crucial battle to watch in training camp. Furthermore, the loss of Michael Gaines leaves a void in the team's rushing attack. Gaines was a key edge blocker last season, and promptly was given a four-year, $10 million deal by Detroit.
Fine could be that jack-of-all-trades.
The Bills top three draft choices - Leodis McKelvin, James Hardy and Chris Ellis - remain unsigned. Stay tuned to the Buffalo Football Report for any updates.
Check this out for more on Fine