Bills training camp is a wrap, but they're not finished with preseason prep yet. The squad still has a few more weeks of practices before their Week 1 home opener against the Steelers.
In 15 practices and one preseason game, several players had performances worthy of praise. From the offense to the defense, here are our 2021 training camp awards.
Offensive MVP: QB Josh Allen
Bills quarterback Josh Allen looked like a consistent machine throughout camp. Allen stood out as the best player on the field and practiced like a quarterback who can take his team far. The offense powered through camp with several stellar practices full of highlights. Allen and his receivers continued to improve their connection, picking up where they left off from last season. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs said he thinks Allen has more confidence this year. The QB1 threw multiple perfectly placed passes that would have been game-changing plays in a game. It'll be fun to watch the next steps Allen takes this season after breaking multiple records in 2020.
Defensive MVP: S Micah Hyde
He's one of the leaders on defense and he looked like that in camp. During camp, Micah Hyde had a couple of exciting interceptions and pass breakups against an offense that's tough to beat. Hyde looks like the same reliable player he's been the last several seasons for the Bills, but has been playing with more urgency. In his ninth season, Buffalo will need his lockdown mentality in the backfield. Hyde had five interceptions in his first season with the Bills and another one like that could push the defense to the next level.
Most improved: DE AJ Epenesa
AJ Epenesa received glowing reviews from his veteran teammates during training camp. According to Mario Addison, Epenesa is playing better than ever and is ready to have an impactful season. The young defensive lineman spent most of his offseason training in Buffalo, and because of that he's at an ideal weight and the strongest he's ever been. Epenesa is playing as if he's a lot more comfortable in the defense and got a sizeable amount of reps in Bills Camp. He's practicing like he has the ability to be a difference maker this season.
Offensive rookie standout: T Spencer Brown
Spencer Brown got thrown into the fire in his first training camp. The third-round pick from this year's draft got plenty of reps because of offensive line injuries. He's the rookie standout because he held his own. It's not easy going up against veteran defensive lineman every day, and Brown didn't look out of place. He helped open up some nice holes and said he's learned from the wins and losses of his first camp. Brown has proven he's worthy of a role on the offensive line whenever the coaches deem him ready.
Honorable mention: Marquez Stevenson
Defensive rookie standout: Greg Rousseau
Greg Rousseau exceeded many expectations in training camp. When the Bills drafted Rousseau, general manager Brandon Beane said the DE had the ability to have a role on defense in his rookie year and it's looking like that based on the way he practices. Rousseau didn't play last season because he opted out, and due to that many weren't sure how he would look after a year off. One thing that's obvious is he is a tough competitor. The rookie has had several practices with a sack or a tackle for loss. He plays as if he's not a rookie and has proven that the defensive line is better when he's a part of it.
Camp surprise: Jake Kumerow
Jake Kumerow was the name to know out of Bills Camp this year. He's not a stranger to the offense, but he hasn't had a full season with the Bills yet. Kumerow played in six games last season and scored one touchdown. The WR was one of Allen's favorite targets in camp. He had several impressive catches against players like Tre'Davious White and rarely dropped anything. The wide receiver room is stacked and it's hard to imagine a group without Kumerow based on his stellar camp performance.
Honorable mention: Efe Obada
Best comeback: Cody Ford, Zack Moss, Tommy Sweeney
It's hard to just pick one of these guys for best comeback, and they've all done a lot to get back on the practice field. Cody Ford rehabbed his way back from a knee and shoulder injury, Zack Moss healed from an ankle injury that ended his rookie season early and Tommy Sweeney worked his way back from myocarditis. Each of these guys deserves this shoutout because of all the hard work they put in during the offseason. All three have had standout practices during camp, and it will be exciting to watch them play healthy this year.
Most valuable newcomer: Emmanuel Sanders
Just when you thought the wide receiver room couldn't get any better, it did. Emmanuel Sanders will have a nice role in the offense this year. Anytime Sanders was on the field, he showcased his versatility as a receiver by making multiple plays. He's quick, can run a variety of strong routes and has good hands. He's a veteran presence who will be huge for the wide receiver room.
Honorable mention: Mitchell Trubisky