Buffalo Bills 2021 Training Camp Preview

The Buffalo Bills officially start their 2021 Training Camp on Tuesday, July 28th. Here is a preview of each positional group heading into camp.

Offense:

Quarterbacks:
  • Josh Allen, Mitchell Trubisky, Jake Fromm, Davis Webb

When the Bills traded up to select QB Josh Allen in the first round in 2018, many critics disapproved the pick and for his first two seasons in the NFL, they believed to be correct.. Until last season, where Allen proved all of his doubters completely wrong, where he had a sensational breakout-season, throwing for a career-high 4,544 yards for a very impressive TD:INT ratio of 37 TD-10 INT.

Allen’s has a new backup, he is former Bears No. 3 overall pick, Mitch Trubisky signed a 1-year deal and replaces veteran Matt Barkley. Last year’s rookie Jake Fromm will most likely need to impress the coaching staff throughout the preseason to earn a spot on the final roster.

Running Backs:
  • Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, Matt Breida, Taiwan Jones, Antonio Williams, Christian Wade

It’s no secret that GM Brandon Beene has been aggressively trying to upgrade this position for the last several years. They’ve been searching for a reliable starter, and supposedly were prepared to select former Clemson RB Travis Entiene, who said on Jacksonville’s YouTube channel that he thought Buffalo was taking him at No. 30 overall. 

They had high expectations for former 2019 3rd-round pick Devin Singletary, but he’s been a major disappointment considering the expectations that had for him.. He supposedly has spent all offseason reshaping his body to improve his explosiveness, in what will be a major prove-it year for him.

Last year’s rookie 2nd-round pick Zach Moss demonstrated some flashes in his game, but dealt with a toe injury throughout the beginning of the season that limited him.. If Moss takes the next step, he could definitely emerge as the lead back. Their only addition to this group is former 49ers & Dolphins RB Matt Breida, who’ll most likely have a limited role replacing T.J. Yeldon, and would only have a real shot at receiving significant snaps if Singletary/Moss get injured. Antonio Williams, an undrafted rookie from last year who was added to their active roster later in the season is a player to keep an eye on throughou the preseason.

Fullback:

Reggie Gilliam

Wide Receivers:
  • Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, Marquez Stevenson, Isaiah Hodgins, Duke Williams, Jake Kumerow, Tanner Gentry, Brandon Powell, Tre Walker

The addition of Stefon Diggs last offseason was one of the most impactful moves of the entire NFL offseason last year. The impact Diggs has on Buffalo’s offense & the development of Allen is so valuable, it was one of the main reasons that spring boarded this team into a Super Bowl contender. Cole Beasley absolutely dominated last season in the slot, earning All-Pro honors, but his future with the team could potentially be in question depending on how the organization feels about Beasley’s stance on his Twitter about his opinion on choosing to not get vaccinated.

The biggest surprise of their 2020 rookie class last year was 5th-round WR Gabriel Davis, who emerged as one of their most productive receivers last season. Davis will compete for snaps at the No. 2 WR spot on the other side of Diggs with veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who signed this offseason after spending a year with the New Orleans Saints. Sanders should be an excellent fit in Brian Daboll’s offensive scheme; his biggest question will be whether he can stay healthy throughout the course of the season.

After Diggs-Sanders-Beasley-Davis.. The three receivers that will have the best chance at earning a final roster spot are Isaiah McKenzie, rookie 6th-round pick Marquez Stevenson and last year’s rookie 6th-round pick Isaiah Hodgins. McKenzie is the favorite to land the return job, replacing Andre Roberts; while Stevenson and Hodgins are two players to keep an eye on, they will likely battle for the final roster spot.

Tight Ends:
  • Dawson Knox, Jacob Hollister, Tommy Sweeney (Q), Nate Becker, Quintin Morris

Improving this group was assumed to be a priority of theirs this offseason, as the group has been lacking a consistent, reliable starter, but they opted not to add anyone significant. Dawson Knox is entering a major prove-it season, where the staff is hoping he takes the next step forward and improves his game as a receiver, and continues to build chemistry with Allen throughout the offseason. 

One player that already should have built chemistry with Allen, despite never actually suiting up for the Bills before is Jacob Hollister. Hollister is an athletic tight end that has had a long history with Allen, as the two played together at Wyoming, which gives him the potential to take the job away from Knox if he struggles. Quintin Morris is an intriguing undrafted free agent to keep an eye on, he’ll have a chance of earning a final roster spot.

Offensive Line:
  • LT: Dion Dawkins, Tommy Doyle
  • LG: Jon Feliciano, Ike Boettger, Forrest Lamp, Steven Gonzalez, Syrus Tuitele
  • C: Mitch Morse, Ryan Bates, Jordan Devey
  • RG: Cody Ford, Jamil Douglas, Jack Anderson, Steven Gonzalez, Syrus Tuitele
  • RT: Daryl Williams, Spencer Brown, Bobby Hart, Syrus Tuitele

Offensive Tackles: Maintaining the offensive line was a key heading into this offseason, where they had several key linemen tested free agency, but they ended up re-signing all of them. Their first key free agent they re-signed was RT Daryl Williams, who had a very solid 1st season in Buffalo. They did a great job improving their depth at offensive tackle, by selecting two massive offensive tackles in the early-mid rounds of the draft: Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle. Both Brown and Doyle will have the opportunity to develop behind Williams and LT Dion Dawkins.

Interior Offensive Linemen: The starting interior offensive line will be the same heading into this season, as they made sure to re-sign Jon Felicano, who will be alongside the reliable veteran center Mitch Morse, and 2019 2nd-round pick, RG Cody Ford. They added free agents guards Jamil Douglas and Forrest Lamp in free agency who’ll compete for a roster spot with Ike Boettger and rookie Jack Anderson.

Defense (4-3):

Defensive Line:
  • LDE: Carlos Basham, Jerry Hughes, Efe Obada, Darryl Johnson
  • RDE: Mario Addison, Gregory Rousseau, A.J. Epenesa, Bryan Cox, Mike Love
  • LDT: Vernon Butler, Justin Zimmer, Star Lotulelei, Brandin Bryant
  • RDT: Ed Oliver, Harrison Phillips, Treyvon Hester

Defensive Ends: It’s very clear that GM Brandon Beane wanted to improve this pass-rush edge-rusher on the defensive line. They upgraded the position with the selections of Gregory Rousseau (Miami FL) and Carlos ‘Boogie’ Basham (Wake Forest). The group is led by veterans Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison, and also will look to see improvement from last year’s rookie A.J. Epenesa. The group is very deep, so it would not be surprising to see one of their veterans like Addison as a potential final cut.

Defensive Tackles: This defensive tackles group is featured by the emerging young talent of Ed Oliver, who’ll look to take his game to the next level and become one of the top DTs in the NFL. Vernon Butler will start on the opposite end, and they also return the massive Star Lotulelei, who opted-out of last season. One player on the chopping block of earning a roster spot is former 2018 2nd-round pick Harrison Phillips, who has been a disappointment and is entering a contract year.

Linebackers:
  • WLB: Matt Milano, Andre Smith, Joe Giles-Harris
  • SLB: A.J. Klein, Tyrell Adams, Mike Bell
  • MLB: Tremaine Edmunds, Tyler Matakevich, Tyrel Dodson, Marquel Lee

Outside Linebackers: Bringing back Matt Milano was a major priority for them heading into this offseason, and they agreed on a deal to re-sign him to a four-year extension. Veteran A.J. Klein will be expected to be the starter on the opposite side. Andre Smith and Tyrell Adams will most likely be the backup behinds them.

Inside Linebackers: Tremaine Edmunds is emerging as one of the top young inside linebackers in the NFL. He just turned 23-years old and already is a 2x Pro Bowler who has totaled over 100+ tackles in each of his first 3 NFL seasons. Behind Edmunds, is Tyler Matakevich who provides a ton of help on special teams.

Secondary:
  • LCB: Tre’Davious White, Taron Johnson, Dane Jackson, Rachad Wildgoose
  • RCB: Levi Wallace, Siran Neal, Cam Lewis, Olaijah Griffin, Nick McCloud
  • FS: Micah Hyde, Jaquan Johnson, Damar Hamlin
  • SS: Jordan Poyer, Josh Thomas, Tariq Thompson

Cornerbacks: This group is led by one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Tre’Davious White. The starter on the opposite side of White should be most likely be Levi Wallace, but a player to keep an eye on to challenge him is last year’s 7th-round pick Dane Jackson who has impressed their GM Brandon Beane during OTAs. The starter in the slot, will most likely be Taron Johnson, with Siran Neal also competing for time. Cam Lewis & Rachad Wildgoose are also players to keep an eye on during training camp, they’ll have a shot to earn the final roster with a strong camp.

Safeties: Buffalo has arguably the best safety duo in the NFL in FS Micah Hyde & SS Jordan Poyer, who seem to improve their chemistry with one another every season. They added Damar Hamlin (Pittsburgh) in the 6th round, who should help improve their depth, replacing Dean Marlowe.

Special Teams:

  • PK: Tyler Bass
  • P: Matt Haack
  • KR: Isaiah McKenzie, Brandon Powell, Marquez Stevenson, Matt Breida
  • PR: Brandon Powell, Isaiah McKenzie, Marquez Stevenson
  • H: Matt Haack
  • LS: Reid Ferguson

Tyler Bass enters his 2nd-year as Buffalo’s kicker, after posting a (82.4 FG %) in his rookie year. They added former Dolphins punter Matt Haack who should provide an upgrade to their special teams. Brandon Powell and Isaiah McKenzie should compete for the starting returner job.

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