1 - NFL analyst: Josh Allen the league’s most athletic QB
Though fans were aware of Josh Allen’s athleticism entering the 2018 campaign, just how athletic the 6-foot-5, 240-pound signal caller is came as a bit of a surprise to many.
Allen emerged as a dynamic athlete in the second half of the season. After returning from an elbow injury in Week 11, taking off and running with the ball became a major part of Allen’s game. He rushed for 476 yards and five touchdowns over the final six games of the season, nearly finishing the campaign as the league’s top-ranked rushing quarterback.
Allen’s athleticism is a bit deceiving, as most wouldn’t expect a 6-foot-5 quarterback to have the speed of a running back and strength of a linebacker. It is this unique blend of size, speed, and strength that makes Allen “the best athlete at quarterback” in the NFL, according to NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger.
In a recent episode of “Baldy’s Breakdowns,” the former offensive lineman looked at a number of Allen’s plays from the second half of the season. He often praised the quarterback’s sheer athleticism, crediting that ability to “his pure strength and competitive fire.”
“He averaged over seven yards a carry,” Baldinger said. “No quarterback in the league came close to that.”
Baldinger feels as though Allen’s athletic ability is comparable to that of any other quarterback in the NFL.
“I think he’s a better athlete than Cam [Newton], than [Mitchell] Trubisky, than Lamar [Jackson], than [Deshaun] Watson, than [Marcus] Mariota,” Baldinger said. “Give me a great athlete at quarterback, I’ll put Josh Allen up against any of those quarterbacks.”
2 - ESPN gives Bills’ rookie class a positive grade
In a 2018 season that was so heavily focused on youth and building a foundation for the future, Buffalo’s rookie class largely impressed.
Quarterback Josh Allen and middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds both played well as the signal callers of their respective sides of the ball. Defensive tackle Harrison Phillips made an impact in a rotational role, totaling 35 tackles. The Bills even found a few gems on day three of the 2018 draft, as cornerback Taron Johnson and offensive guard Wyatt Teller played in starting roles throughout the season.
ESPN staff writer Mike Rodak feels as though Buffalo’s rookie class has provided “a sense of optimism around the team for 2019,” giving the group an “above average” overall grade.
Rodak feels as though Johnson was the Bills’ best rookie in the 2018 season. The nickel cornerback finished his injury-shortened debut campaign with 42 tackles and one interception.
“The Bills found a starting-caliber defensive back in Johnson, a fourth-round pick from Weber State,” Rodak wrote. “Johnson, the Bills' slot cornerback, injured his shoulder in the season opener but played through the injury until Week 14, when he had season-ending surgery. He played Buffalo's ninth-most defensive snaps through Week 13 and was Pro Football Focus' 45th-graded cornerback this season.”
The ESPN writer also had praise for Allen, writing that he was the team’s “most improved” rookie.
Rodak went on to highlight Buffalo’s undrafted rookie class, a group headlined by wide receiver Robert Foster and cornerback Levi Wallace, both of whom ended the season with starting roles.
“The Bills received among the league's best contributions from their undrafted rookie class in part because of the opportunities they gave those players,” Rodak said. “[Robert] Foster led qualifying NFL receivers with 20.44 yards per catch from Weeks 10 to 17.
“Foster's former Alabama teammate, Levi Wallace, became the Bills' starting cornerback in Week 10 and finished the season as Pro Football Focus' fourth-ranked cornerback in the NFL.”
3 - B/R identifies Bills’ biggest offseason needs
The Bills enter the 2019 offseason with over $85 million in cap space and a number of holes to fill.
Constructing a competitive team around the already present core will likely be general manager Brandon Beane’s primary focus this offseason. The moves that the executive makes this summer will have a direct impact on Buffalo’s immediate and future success, and Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton has decided to give the Bills’ general manager a hand.
In a recent article breaking down the most-pressing needs of five NFL teams, Moton identified wide receiver, tight end, offensive guard and tackle, outside linebacker, and cornerback as positions that the Bills should address this summer.
The pundit feels as though the Bills have a solid one-two punt at wideout in Zay Jones and Robert Foster. He does, however, believe that Buffalo should look to add another capable pass catcher to its receiving corps this offseason.
“Wideout Zay Jones progressed in his second season, and Allen built a rapport with wide receiver Robert Foster,” Moton wrote. “But the Bills should target another playmaker at the position to form a solid trio.”
Moton believes that improving the offensive side of the ball should be Buffalo’s priority this season, with a specific focus placed on the offensive line. He also feels as though the team should make a few depth pickups on defense, something that could allow the unit to replicate its 2018 success next season.
“The Bills must focus on their offensive needs,” Moton wrote. “But the back seven needs fine-tuning to maintain a solid defense.