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Bills Today: Second-year players positioned for breakout seasons according to B/R


1. Second-year players positioned for breakout seasons according to B/R

Sophomore NFL players are either viewed as future stars based on small sample sizes or are quickly written off due to poor play or lack of contributions writes Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski. Sobleski decided on 10 second-year NFL players poised for breakout seasons with two Bills making the list.

First up is Josh Allen.

Of the five 2018 first-round quarterbacks, the Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen is best positioned for significant improvement.

Baker Mayfield shined as a rookie for the Cleveland Browns. The New York Jets believe Sam Darnold is their franchise signal-caller. Lamar Jackson helped lead the Baltimore Ravens to a playoff appearance. Meanwhile, Josh Rosen is already on his second team and isn't guaranteed a starting spot with the Miami Dolphins.

Allen has the most room for growth and a much-improved supporting cast to help his maturation.

Allen shouldered the offense last season with 2,074 passing yards and 631 rushing yards, scoring 18 total touchdowns. This offseason the Bills added John Brown, Cole Beasley, Frank Gore, six offensive linemen in free agency and then grabbed multiple playmakers in the draft as well.

Allen will have to show improvement in year two but the team has already shown faith in its quarterback and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is letting Allen take more reigns of the offense this year.

Bills undrafted free agent cornerback Levi Wallace was the other selection. Wallace walked-on at Alabama, earned a starting spot and won a national championship but wasn't selected due to poor measurements.

Wallace fell into the Bills laps and by the end of the season he was starting opposite Tre' White. The Bills made additions to the secondary this offseason with Kevin Johnson and E.J. Gaines but it should push him even more.

"He has the same approach as last year as an undrafted kid. 'I'm fighting for this thing.'" General manager Brandon Beane said. "Yeah, I started at the end of the year, but there's competition here. Someone is gonna have to knock me out. I'm not just going to give this spot up because I was undrafted."

2. NFL Films producing "A Football Life" on Bruce Smith

NFL Films will be producing "A Football Life" documentary on the best pass-rusher in Bills history Bruce Smith.

Jill Kelly posted a photo of Smith and many of his former teammates including Jim Kelly, Steve Tasker and Darry Talley on Saturday in Buffalo.

NYUP was informed that the players and personnel in attendance will all be part of the NFL Films documentary.

Smith's list of achievements with the Bills is a mile long. In 15 seasons in Buffalo he recorded 171 sacks and finished his career with a NFL record 200 career sacks. He also had 1,224 total tackles, 43 forced fumbles, 15 fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

Smith was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 and had his number retired by the Bills in 2016. Smith was named to 11 Pro Bowls, eight first-team All-Pro teams, two second-team All-Pro and was a four-time recipient of the AFC Defensive Player of the Year.

Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas are the other two members of the Bills to be profiled on a "A Football Life".

3. Who will be the Bills' 2019 MVP?

There's less than 100 days left until the regular season where months of offseason work will finally be put to the test but only one player in the league will be named MVP at the end of the season. Instead, of trying to predict who that one player will be, Dan Hanzus of predicted who will be the most valuable for each team.

Buffalo's choice comes with little surprise, Josh Allen.

That blend of optimism and apprehension in Baltimore can also be found up north in Buffalo, where the Bills hope Allen will take the next step. Like Jackson, Allen is a first-round pick who flashed as a rookie but also struggled at times with ball placement and mechanics. Even with those Year 1 deficiencies, Allen gives Bills fans the kind of quarterback excitement they haven't seen since ... Jim Kelly? That dash of Fitzmagic a while back? Flutie Flakes? Allen doesn't have a true No. 1 wideout to throw to, but we love the fireworks potential of Allen's howitzer and free-agent addition John Brown's blazing straight-line speed. Sportswriter Rule No. 483: "Cannon" and "howitzer" are the only artillery-related terms allowed to describe the power of a quarterback's throwing arm.

Check out photos of the Buffalo Bills working out during week 3 of OTAs. Bills weight room photos are presented by Crunch Fitness.

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