Bills Today: Jonathan Williams unfazed by Gillislee offer sheet

Posted Apr 20, 2017

If the Bills choose not to match New England's offer sheet for Mike Gillislee it could present a golden opportunity for Jonathan Williams to seize the backup running back role. Williams maintains that development won't impact his approach to his second NFL season.

Here’s the Bills news of note for April 20th.

1 - Jonathan Williams unfazed by Gillislee offer sheet
The division rival New England Patriots may wind up altering Buffalo’s depth chart at running back after signing Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet on Tuesday. Bills second-year back Jonathan Williams would be the favorite to step into Gillislee’s role should Buffalo choose not to match the Patriots offer sheet by Monday. At this point the Arkansas product isn’t going to worry about something he can’t control.

“I’m just going to continue with my preparation,” said Williams. “Nothing changes. Mike was one of my closest friends on the team last year. I hung out with him just about every day last season. But every day is a competition and I was trying to beat him out. I work every day to be the best I can be. So my preparation isn’t going to change. I’m still going to try to be the best running back I can be.”

Williams is excited about Buffalo’s new offensive scheme knowing the success it has had in the league for more than a decade.

“I like it a lot,” Williams told “It’s something I didn’t do a lot of in college. I ran in more of a gap scheme, power and things like that, but the zone scheme is definitely good for any running back that has good vision and instincts so I’m definitely excited about the opportunity.”

Now in phase two of the offseason conditioning program the players are now getting a chance to take the teaching tape they’re watching in the classroom and rep it on the field in a non-contact setting.

“Our teach tape is watching Arian Foster. He was a guy I watched growing up as a kid,” Williams said. “He was one of my favorite players growing up. It’s definitely a great system for running backs and I think we can do some big things with it.”

If Buffalo doesn’t match New England’s offer sheet for Gillislee, it could be bigger for Williams than he may have initially thought.


2 - ESPN targets three prospects for Bills
ESPN NFL draft analysts put their heads together to target three “good fit” prospects for the Bills for each day of the 2017 draft. While their day one pick has been a common one in several mock drafts, their day two and day three recommendations presented some interesting prospects for Sean McDermott’s defense.

Here’s a look at their suggestions and reasons why.

Buffalo Bills
Day 1 (pick No. 10): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky could be wild cards here considering the uncertainty within the organization on whether Tyrod Taylor is the long-term answer at quarterback. If Buffalo elects to stand pat at QB, Davis would be a good fit and would fill a big need especially after losing Robert Woods in free agency. The nearly 6-foot-3 and 210-pound receiver would be a welcomed addition opposite of the injury-prone Sammy Watkins to help surround Taylor with another weapon.

Day 2: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Buffalo has a void to fill at cornerback after losing Stephon Gilmore and nickel back Nickell Robey-Coleman. Tabor saw his stock take a hit because of poor test times, which included a 4.62 40-yard dash at the combine. However, Tabor could be a good fit within Sean McDermott's zone-heavy scheme. Playing on a team like the Bills would allow Tabor to use his eyes to maximize his instincts and ball skills, which are his stronger traits as a player.

Day 3: Blair Brown, OLB, Ohio
The Bills have high hopes for 2016 second-round pick Reggie Ragland to have a big impact this season after his rookie year was derailed because of a knee injury. However, he and Preston Brown are thumpers, and the need to add an athletic and rangy linebacker is there after Zach Brown departed for Washington via free agency. Brown is an explosive, under-the-radar, run-and-hit linebacker who could end up finding a starting role within a year or two.

3 - Assessing prospects unable to test
There are a handful of top prospects in this year’s draft who have been unable to test in any capacity during the pre-draft process. Players like Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, who had core muscle and hip surgeries. Western Michigan WR Corey Davis, who missed the Senior Bowl to undergo ankle surgery and did not perform at the NFL combine or his pro day. Alabama LB Reuben Foster is another as he is going through the rehab process after rotator cuff surgery. So do NFL clubs penalize such players when grading them on their draft board? draft analyst Gil Brandt and Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage weighed in on the subject.

“I think with respect to players that have effectively been shelved due to medical issues, that’s where the maturity of an NFL organization can really shine through. The relationship between the general manager, the head coach, the medical staff and the team doctors, as an example, Corey Davis, the receiver from Western Michigan, he has not been able to participate in anything due to that ankle surgery in early February.

“So you have to trust your medical staff as to when he’ll be able to return. If there are any issues in terms of the future. How successful was the surgery? Of course they had the medical re-checks in early April. That information can go a long way in terms of a GM having the comfort level to take a player or not. All of that goes through the medical staff. Doctors and trainers, they’re like scouts. They all have different opinions.”

Brandt, who was the Dallas Cowboys Director of personnel for 30 years, agreed saying he usually relied on veteran members of the team’s medical staff in situations like this.

“Most veteran doctors are really able to prognosticate when a guy is going to come back,” said Brandt. “And when you’re talking about a guy like Corey Davis, they might tell you he won’t be ready until June 15th as an example. They’re pretty good at doing it. You draft sometimes knowing you’re not going to have the player for part of the offseason or sometimes even into training camp. I think you take all those things into consideration when making a choice.”