Here's the Bills news of note for Aug. 13th.
1 – ESPN tabs Bills winner of trades
After trades, pundits and writers alike, try to forecast which team won the transaction. Bill Barnwell, of ESPN, did just that. In his summation, he felt the Bills won on Thursday. Barnwell stated that the draft picks the Bills acquired could pay huge dividends in the future.
The Bills are making the right sort of moves as they try to build a team to (eventually) make noise in the postseason…What's really crucial, though, are those extra draft picks.
The trades on Thursday accomplished two things. The Bills acquired players in E.J. Gaines and Jordan Matthews that will contribute to the team immediately in 2017. But, the Bills also looked to the future. With the acquisition of a second and third round pick, the Bills now have six picks in the first three rounds of the 2018 draft.
For Barnwell, the Bills were winners because of these picks. The Bills will be able to compete this season, as general manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott have espoused many times this offseason. But, they will also have flexibility next offseason, as they look to continue to build the Bills into a contender.
Barnwell also tabbed Matthews as a winner in the trade. The productive wide receiver will garner many snaps in the three-wide receiver sets that offensive coordinator Rick Dennison often uses. He said this could amount in Matthews surpassing his career-high 117 targets he received last year, as he becomes one of the main receiving threats in Buffalo.
**2 – Zay Jones potential rookie of year candidate
The departure of Sammy Watkins brings a shake-up to the wide receiver depth chart. With the addition of Jordan Matthews, the Bills receivers will look very different this season. Possibly one of the beneficiaries of Watkins leaving is rookie Zay Jones. Moving up on the depth chart, Jones could have an even larger role this season. Bleacher Report thinks this could culminate in an offensive rookie of the year award for Jones.
Zay Jones has dark-horse Offensive Rookie of the Year potential because of both his natural talent and how much that talent will be in demand…He has soft hands that can be trusted immediately, a fact cemented by his drop rate of just 3.7 percent in 2016, per PFF. The average drop rate among FBS receivers was 8.3 percent.
Considering that Jordan Matthews has been one of the most productive slot receivers since he's entered the NFL, the Bills could look to push Jones to the outside. Although he hasn't taken many snaps on the outside during training camp, Jones certainly has the speed and athleticism to thrive.
Possibly in the top-three of the depth chart, Jones could garner a large volume of throws this season. If Jones can adjust to the NFL, he could soon show his true potential.
Jones said that he's going to do everything he can to help the Bills this year.
"I don't think its added responsibility," said Jones. "I feel I was brought here for a reason, that's to help this football team. So, whatever my job is, that's I'm going to do it to the best of my ability. Outside people may see it as that, but it's just going out and doing my job each and every day."
3 – Thomas presents intriguing upside
Bleacher Report, compiled a list of each team's most intriguing player. These are players who have a high ceiling, but will certainly take time to develop. BR picked for the Bills.
*Logan Thomas always looked like a tight end pretending to be a quarterback…Thomas had it all – size, strength, attitude and intangibles…Thomas has embraced his role. He spent part of the summer at Tyrod Taylor's personalized minicamp with the rest of the skill position players. *
Thomas is a very interesting project. As writer Mike Tanier stated, Thomas never truly looked like a fit at quarterback. At 6-foot-6-inches, he towers over most players on the field. His height, and natural athleticism makes him a perfect fit at tight end.
So far, Thomas has shown that tight end could truly be his best position. After starting training camp third on the depth chart, he has continued to make plays and garner more reps. In the first preseason game, Thomas had two catches for 22 yards, and came about a yard short of a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He even saw time with the first team, as they used a three-tight end set.
Thomas has always had immense athleticism. That has been on full display during training camp, as he transitions to tight end. If Thomas can continue to show he has reliable hands, and is a willing blocker, his role with the Bills could grow as the season goes on.