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Bills Today: Jason Croom determined to fill tight end position

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1. Jason Croom determined to fill tight end position

Charles Clay was released by the Bills last month, leaving Jason Croom as the only tight end currently under contract for next season. Croom felt both melancholy and motivated when Clay was released.

As the only tight end on the roster the second-year player sees it as an opportunity for more playing time and possibly the starting job for next season.

“Really, it’s another opportunity for me to step up,” Croom told The Buffalo News. “That’s what’s been pushing me even harder this offseason. I literally just finished up my workout.”

Croom played in 15 games last season and accumulated 22 catches, 259 yards and one touchdown. In comparison, Clay started 12 of the 13 games he played in last year and had 21 catches for 184 yards and no touchdowns.

Croom like other Bills is encouraged for next season.

“What excites me is the energy, the momentum we had ending the season,” Croom said, “and I just feel like everybody, we understand we didn’t have a lot of experience, and everybody is motivated. We know we’re better than what we put out there. You would see flashes. We’re going to put it all together.”

2. Top-50 free agents who match with the Bills according to The Athletic

The Athletic has updated its list of the top 50 free agents excluding players who took on franchise tags. The market is a bit weaker without them but there is still plenty of talent available to pick up. The Athletic matched players to teams based on need, scheme fit, cap space and the historical operations of the franchise. Three players fit best with Buffalo.

Two offensive linemen and one wide receiver were chosen to match with the Bills; John Brown, Daryl Williams and Mitch Morse.

Brown has bounced around from Arizona to Baltimore and is in search of his third team in just as many years. Here’s what The Athletic said about Brown.

Last year, 20.3 percent of Josh Allen’s passes traveled 20 yards or more downfield. That was the highest percentage of any starting quarterback. Why not pair him with a wide receiver who can stretch defenses vertically? Brown averaged 17.02 yards per reception last season. In addition to his speed, Brown aggressively fights for the ball in the air. He had at least one catch of 20-plus yards in each of the Ravens’ first seven games last season and a catch of 40-plus in four of the first seven before they turned to a run-heavy attack.

Williams would continue the Carolina to Buffalo pathway and help along the front to give Allen more time to throw. Here’s what The Athletic said about Williams.

While chucking it downfield, Allen held the ball for 3.22 seconds per dropback on average. That was longer than any other quarterback in the league. The Bills know they need to get better up front, and Williams gives them a young right tackle with upside.

Morse hasn’t allowed a sack over the past three seasons. Here’s what The Athletic wrote about Morse.

They seem like a lock to add a center; it’s just a matter of which one. _According to STATS, Morse has not been responsible for allowing a sack over the past three seasons. The problem has been durability. He’s missed 14 games over the past two seasons.

3. Pro Football Focus picks this draft prospect for the Bills

Steve Palazzolo released his NFL Mock Draft 4 last week and went away from the typical Bills choices with the ninth pick. Palazzolo didn’t choose a wide receiver D.K. Metcalk like Todd McShay nor did he go for the offensive line with a player like Jawaan Taylor. Palazzolo wants the Bills to add another player to the secondary, Byron Murphy, a cornerback from Washington. Here's what Palazzolo wrote about Murphy.

Another great scheme fit, Murphy has excellent zone skills that fit the Bills perfectly. He posted the nation’s top grade a year ago at 92.0 overall, and even with the offensive holes, the Bills can continue to build their coverage unit while grabbing offensive playmakers in the second and third rounds.

Murphy accumulated 58 tackles, four interceptions and one forced fumble for the Huskies this season. He returned one interception for a touchdown and recorded 13 passes defended. Murphy is one of the younger players in the draft forgoing his final two years of eligibility and only turned 21 in January.

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