1. CBS Sports analyst predicts this Bills player will win the Defensive Player of the Year award
We've seen the Josh Allen national hype follow his stellar play from last season. Lost in the sharp spike in play from Buffalo's quarterback was a Pro Bowl season by his draft class mate on defense.
Tremaine Edmunds turned in a solid season that was somewhat compromised by injury, but did enough to earn the respect of players and coaches around the league.
Now heading into the 2021 campaign, CBSSports.com's Jason LaCanfora has picked Edmunds as his Defensive Player of the Year. Here's his reasoning.
This guy is about to breakout in a massive way, and I get the sense the Bills already know it. Best get this extension done, ASAP. His speed and strength and wingspan and balance and instincts are all other-worldly. He is about to register the kind of statistics that gain national attention and the mainstream acclaim that he is worthy of. This defense is about to make another leap forward, and this will be the best of that bunch. Metrics meets production.
2. Epenesa completes body composition change
Second-year defensive end AJ Epenesa found it tough to get on the field in the first half of his rookie season, due in part to his difficulty in keeping weight on his 6-4 frame. But now after a full offseason of work at One Bills Drive with Buffalo's strength and conditioning staff, Epenesa is primed to be a much more significant contributor.
"What we've seen of AJ, I don't want to say it's a total body makeover, but where he is weight-wise and his approach has been really, really good," said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. "He spent most of his offseason here in Buffalo, working with our strength coach, Eric Ciano and it's paying off. He's able to maintain his weight which was an issue for him during the season last year. It was fluctuating and really it was hard for him to keep weight up.
"But now he's more stabilized, he's gotten stronger. He's more explosive. He's really benefited from staying here which was something he couldn't do last offseason, because of all the things that were going on. I'm anxious to see once we get to training camp if some of the things that we're seeing now transfer to what we're going to do when we put pads on. But, man, he looks really, really good at this point."
3. A top five rank for Bills receiving corps
After finishing third in the league in passing in 2020, most NFL observers were wise to the quality of Buffalo's receiving corps. And although there have been a couple of changes to the Bills lineup out wide, Pro Football Focus has them ranked fourth in the league for the 2021 campaign.
With John Brown moving on, Emmanuel Sanders and Gabriel Davis will both see plenty of playing time, as the Bills used the second-most four-wide receiver sets in the NFL last year. Sanders is a good route-runner who can still produce in a possession role, even at age 34 years of age. He's graded at 70.0 or better in all but two of his 11 years in the league. Davis, on the other hand, was a productive vertical threat, averaging 17.5 yards per reception. He'll be counted on for more of the same in 2021, as his size and game speed was a valuable asset as a rookie. Isaiah McKenzie also returns as the screen/jet sweep option.
The Bills have one of the best receiving units in the NFL once again, and more production out of their third and fourth options along with better play at tight end could put them at No. 1 by the end of the season.
The only receiving units PFF had ranked higher were Tampa Bay, Dallas and Kansas City.