1. Why this outlet offered high praise for Buffalo's wide receivers
It didn't take long for the folks at Pro Football Focus to stamp the Bills as the best wide receiving corps in the league. Right after the trade of Stefon Diggs was reported by a couple of national news breakers, PFF's Sam Monson tweeted that Buffalo had the top group of wideouts in the league.
While it may have seemed like a rush to judgment, since the new top trio for the Bills hasn't even taken the field together to practice, Monson explained his rationale.
The point was just how impressive the Bills' trio is. Not only is it good, but it's balanced, underrated, and each of the three win with the same calling card — separation.
Let's start with what the Bills have acquired in the form of Diggs. When you start to watch through his tape, it's difficult to find something that he doesn't do exceptionally well.
Diggs can count the following as strengths:
Great releases off the line
Great route running
Great contested-catch skills
Very good run after the catch ability
Good to very good straight-line speed for deep shots
Monson does admit that Diggs' production hasn't been among the elite receivers in the league the last few years, but believes it is due more to a lack of target volume than anything else.
Diggs has had only two seasons in his career with 100-plus targets and has 326 combined over the past three years. Jones averages more than that for his entire career and has been over 125 targets for six straight seasons. Over the past five seasons, Diggs ranks just 20th in the NFL in terms of targets.
As a true number one target in Buffalo's offense, Monson believes Diggs' target share and production will go up concurrently in 2020.
2. McKenzie chose the Bills despite other offers
For Isaiah McKenzie the choice was always to re-sign with the Bills if they'd have him. Though there was some uncertainty when the club did not tender him a qualifying offer, the Bills did present him with a new offer that he ultimately accepted. But that wasn't before some other NFL teams showed interest.
"Other teams gave me some offers, but Buffalo gave me a better offer, so I re-signed with Buffalo because I wanted to be back there anyway," said McKenzie. "And I'm familiar with things and I feel like I have a chance more than I would in other places."
Familiarity could prove to be even more important in what is expected to be a truncated offseason for NFL players in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. NFL offseason conditioning programs typically begin for teams in mid-April but are unlikely to take place. OTA practices in May look to be in jeopardy as well.
McKenzie knows the offensive system having played in it each of the last two seasons, so it shouldn't be a heavy lift for him when player activities can resume at One Bills Drive.
But the versatile speed threat wants to remain in a state of readiness and is getting workouts in however he can knowing the date when everything might resume is unknown.
"I talked about that last week with my trainer. I feel like if you have a steady schedule and you're consistent with everything you do in the offseason, you stay prepared," said McKenzie. "That way when you go back you don't fall off because you're ready. That's what my position coach told me. When it's time to go, it's time to go. You never know what could happen. The season could start right away. We might not even have training camp. You've just got to be ready."
3. Why analytics experts see DT Quinton Jefferson as a smart addition
Buffalo made a heavy investment in their defensive line in free agency this offseason. Mario Addison, Vernon Butler and Quinton Jefferson were all added within days of one another to bolster what is looking like a stacked defensive line for the Bills.
One player in particular that the analytics gurus believe is a great add for Buffalo is Jefferson. Warren Sharp from Sharp Football Analysis broke down what makes Jefferson's game so appealing with an assist from ESPN.
Jefferson, despite 2.5 sacks in 2019, is the more consistent pass rusher of the two (he and Vernon Butler). He has back-to-back seasons with at least 10 quarterback hits and was fifth in ESPN's Pass Rush Win rate among defensive tackles, just slightly above new teammate Ed Oliver.
Sharp turned to analytics colleague, Seth Walder with ESPN to drive home Jefferson's effectiveness rushing the passer as an interior defensive lineman with a graph that shows the defensive tackle's high rate of success in generating pressure even when double teamed.