Here's the Bills news of note for Feb. 10th.
1 - QB Mahomes the best fit?With 2017 draft speculation already swirling a month before the free agent market opens, NFL draft analysts are pondering the best fits for quarterback prospects in this year's class. The Bills are one team that many speculate could draft a quarterback somewhere in the first two days of the draft, knowing EJ Manuel is a free agent, and a decision on Tyrod Taylor's future looms.
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter believes the best fit for Buffalo's new offensive system under OC Rick Dennison is Texas Tech QB Pat Mahomes.
Here are his reasons why.
Fit: Buffalo Bills
The Bills also have a new head coach in former Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. While they're certainly not the same player, McDermott might be reminded of Cam Newton's skill set when he watches Mahomes. New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison has had a lot of success as an offensive coordinator with mobile and strong-armed quarterbacks in Denver, so he'll find a way to utilize the young quarterback's assets to the fullest. Dennison's work "coaching up" young passers like Trevor Siemian might help him get Mahomes, who comes from Texas Tech's Air Raid system, ready to play in a pro-style offense sooner than some expect.
Of course Dennison currently has a mobile and strong-armed quarterback on Buffalo's roster already in Tyrod Taylor, a player he coached in 2014 in Baltimore.
**2 - Listenbee moving through latest rehab
**Last March, WR Kolby Listenbee underwent double hernia surgery. It was the result of playing through a tailbone injury that impacted his pelvis his final season at TCU. With his recovery taking longer than expected due to scar tissue build up, Listenbee had a scope performed in July and missed Bills training camp last summer.
His recovery again was taking longer than expected as he missed the window to return to the active roster. Listenbee's rookie season was soon over before it began and for a third time in 2016, the rookie receiver underwent surgery to address his pelvic issues once and for all.
Now fully engaged in his rehabilitation regimen, Listenbee is slowly working his way back to the playing field with a good amount of his rehab work taking place at One Bills Drive.
"I had a little pool workout and did some mobility stuff like leg swings," said Listenbee in an appearance on the John Murphy Show. "Just walking and trying to get my range of motion back. I haven't been walking because I was on crutches for eight weeks, so I'm just trying to get my body mechanics back."
Listenbee is hopeful that he can participate even if it's on the side during OTAs and minicamp. He expected to be fully cleared by training camp at the latest.
"I talked to the surgeon when I first had surgery and he said four months for a full recovery," he said. "They've also said that I won't be back until training camp. So when we get to OTAs I should be able to run, but it might just be on the side. Just learning technique and walking through plays so I can be ready for training camp."
Listenbee was a sixth-round pick last spring and has world class speed. With a roster that currently has four receivers who are set to become free agents, the TCU product hopes he can finally get his pro career off the ground this fall.
"You've got to prepare yourself so when your number is called on the field go make the play," said Listenbee. "I'll be nervous the first few times on the field because I haven't played in almost two years. So I've just got to do what I do best and run fast and catch the ball and make plays and be smart on the field.
"I have an opportunity having a new coach. It's a clean slate. I have a new receivers coach, new offensive coordinator, so it's a level playing ground for me. So I've got to go learn the offense and get back on the field."
3 - Incognito makes PFF's top 101 listThat's not a typo. Pro Football Focus puts together a list at season's end of their top 101 graded players for the year. In 2016, Bills Pro Bowl G Richie Incognito was somehow the only player on Buffalo's roster to make the list (no LeSean McCoy love?).
Incognito was ranked 98th overall for the 2016 season. Here was the grading assessment.
98. Richie Incognito, LG, Buffalo Bills (31)
In 2015, Richie Incognito's return to the game saw him post the best season of his career, and while he didn't quite match it in 2016, he did back it up with another excellent season, and was a clear top-10 guard in the NFL. Incognito was a key part of the Buffalo running game, which was one of the best in the league, buoyed by QB Tyrod Taylor's ability to make plays with his legs. Incognito also allowed 23 total QB pressures all season.
*Best performance: Week 15 vs. Browns, 86.6 grade*
*Key stat: Buffalo, as a team, averaged 5.7 yards per carry on runs going immediately to either side of Incognito's block.