Training camp preview: Loads of competition in Bills WR room – Buffalo News

Feed your obsession. Start every morning with a guide to the latest news from One Bills Drive and stay informed about what is going on elsewhere in the NFL.
Will Jake Kumerow’s strong special teams play keep him on the Bills’ roster?
This is the fifth in a series of previews of Bills at each position heading into training camp. This installment: wide receivers.
Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane wasn’t joking immediately after the draft when he suggested he could add talent to the wide receiver room.
“I don’t feel we have enough at almost anything,” Beane said. “We’re looking to add everywhere. I would tell all my players that. Like, I’m trying to add as much competition as I can.”
Sure enough, Beane signed veteran Tavon Austin five weeks later. Austin is a veteran of 113 NFL games over nine seasons and has 244 career receptions.
The two starting outside receiver spots for the Bills are set with Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. After that, everything is up for grabs in a crowded wideout room of 11 players. Wide receiver will be one of the most competitive positions in training camp at St. John Fisher University.
Returnees: Diggs, Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, Jake Kumerow, Marquez Stevenson, Isaiah Hodgins, Tanner Gentry.
Newcomers: Khalil Shakir (fifth-round pick), Jamison Crowder (free agent, Jets), Austin (free agent, Jaguars), Neil Pau’u (undrafted).
Departures: Cole Beasley (free agent), Emmanuel Sanders (free agent).
Key number: The Bills used three wideouts 70% of the time last year, sixth most in the NFL. Will that number go down a little this year (it won’t go down a lot) due to the talent at tight end and the presence of rookie running back James Cook?
Top position battle: Who takes over Beasley’s role as the top slot receiver? McKenzie is the clear-cut favorite. But Crowder is a proven veteran, with 409 career catches and a 78-catch season in 2019. Another factor is Cook likely will take some of those catches that went to Beasley last year. The Bills kept six wideouts last year. Can they afford to keep seven this year? Will Austin prove too valuable to cut? How quickly can Shakir catch on and win snaps? If Diggs or Davis gets hurt, who is the team’s best option as the No. 3 outside receiver? Despite his small size, Austin is capable of playing outside. Will Kumerow’s strong special teams play keep him on the roster?
What to expect: It could well turn into a job share in the slot between McKenzie and Crowder. In fact, it might take the first half of the season to sort out the best use of those two. If the Bills opt to keep six wideouts, it could be a tough call between Austin and Kumerow.
Feed your obsession. Start every morning with a guide to the latest news from One Bills Drive and stay informed about what is going on elsewhere in the NFL.
Bills/NFL writer
Gaughan’s insight is featured in the “PlayAction” video series, providing analysis to get Bills fans ready for the next game. He is past president of the Pro Football Writers of America and served as a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector for 12 years.
{{description}}
Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.
The Bills will return to St. John Fisher College for training camp on July 24. Get caught up with our position previews.
Will Jake Kumerow’s strong special teams play keep him on the Bills’ roster?
Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

source

Christopher Jones
Christopher Jones
Articles: 5093

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *