The battle for the Buffalo Bills' starting right tackle position will be interesting to follow going into training camp, with Chris Hairston expected to challenge incumbent Erik Pears, according to the Buffalo News. Hairston took over the job last season when Pears was placed on injured reserve after seven games, and performed well. He too had his season cut short by injury, however.
Depending on who you ask, Hairston may already be the favorite to start. While the Buffalo News sees Hairston as playing from behind, SB Nation blog Buffalo Rumblings was confident that he would open camp as the starter, and called him one of the Bills' most underrated players last season.
When people discuss Hairston, the conversation generally focuses on his limited athletic upside (and therefore his limited pass-protection upside) and his worrisome track record in the durability department. Those are concerns, to be sure (and his health is especially worrisome), but Hairston is also a very smart player and a high-quality run blocker.
Both Hairston and Pears are expected to be healthy enough to participate fully at the start of training camp, though Pears was still limited during OTAs and minicamp. Hairston's youth may give him and edge. He is just 24 years old, while Pears is turning 31 in late June.