Here’s the Bills news of note for July 26th.
**1 - Bills ranked third-best in rushing for 2017
Pro Football Focus took a look at each of the NFL teams’ prospects for rushing the football in 2017, and ranked the Bills rushing attack as the third best in the NFL. This ranking wasn’t based solely upon last year’s statistics. It also took the player acquisitions of this offseason into account. Here is an excerpt from their assessment.
*LeSean McCoy headlines this unit, but when you have the best running quarterback in the NFL in Tyrod Taylor, and add the best run-blocking fullback in Patrick DiMarco in free agency, it just makes the unit all that much stronger overall. *
The Bills would have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL with just McCoy. But, Taylor added 577 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns last season. PFF also pointed out that DiMarco was one of the highest rated blocking fullbacks they graded last season.
The Bills rushing attack should be bolstered by the offensive scheme deployed by offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.
Some things that they did here that Juan [Castillo] and I have talked about in the run game that they’ve done very well that we’ll try to carry over,” said Dennison. “Whatever we think we need to do for the 2017 Buffalo Bills to move the ball, make first downs and win games. I think it’s a blend of everything, but it’s always going to be all about the Bills.
2 - Bills WR battle one to watch
There are always position battles in NFL training camps. When it comes to the Bills the number two receiver role will be one that’s hotly contested. Bleacher Report listed the Bills battle at number two wide receiver as one of the best training camp competitions in the entire league.
BR listed 10 competitions that deserve more notoriety than they’ve been receiving. They see the battle between Corey Brown, Andre Holmes and Zay Jones as one to watch.
With the departure of Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, the Bills’ depth at wide receiver was overhauled this offseason. The Bills brought in several veterans and rookies to fight for the coveted positions and BR feels if things fall right the Buffalo receiving corps could put up some good production.
Despite the potential Bleacher Report didn’t state who he thought was most likely to take the job. Instead, he listed the positives and negatives of each player.
Andre Holmes impressed the Bills coaching staff during minicamp, and has shown that he can be a viable red zone threat. His lack of production the past two seasons could however, be of concern. Corey Brown has natural playmaking ability and is a noted deep threat. But, he had a tough season last year, as the Carolina Panthers struggled. Zay Jones has all the tools needed to succeed on the outside in the NFL. But, it’s always a risk to count on an inexperienced rookie.
The ambiguity of the battle is what makes the competition one to watch at training camp.
3 - 11 Bills in SI’s Top 400 NFL players
Andy Benoit, of Sports Illustrated, listed the top-400 players currently in the NFL. A total of 11 Bills players appeared on this list. The highest ranked Bill was LeSean McCoy, who was placed as the 52nd ranked player in the NFL, and third-highest running back on the list.
Richie Incognito was ranked as the ninth best guard in the NFL and Marcell Dareus was ranked as the 12th best defensive tackle in the NFL.
The wide-ranging list didn’t consider statistics, but rather the actual talent of the players. This means that special teamers would get as much consideration as any other player.* *
Considering that there are 1,696 active roster players at any time in the NFL, 400 would comprise the top quarter of players in the league. Placing 11 players on the list means half of the Bills starters are considered some of the most talented players in the NFL. Micah Hyde, Eric Wood, Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, Kyle Williams, Charles Clay, Lorenzo Alexander and Cordy Glenn were the other Bills players who appeared on the list.