Piecing together the wide receiver depth chart should go no farther than putting Kelvin Benjamin at the top spot. After him, the battle for a job on opening day is still up in the air, and there are several viable options for Sean McDermott and company to choose as their number two receiver.
About to begin his first camp with the Bills, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has already seen the work ethic of most in the wide receiver room. No matter who he puts on the field, he will have earned his playing time.
“The guys that are out here practicing are working their tails off,” said Daboll. “I think (receivers coach) Terry Robiskie [and] (assistant receivers coach) Chad Hall, the guys that work with those guys, again, each day you see growth from what they did the day before and that’s the whole mindset that we’re looking for.”
So, who are some of the top candidates to be the second receiver option come September 9?
Another player to watch for is Andre Holmes. The Bills added Holmes last offseason where he was mainly used as a red zone threat. All three of Holmes’s touchdowns last season came from passes in the red zone.
At 6-4, Holmes is the second tallest player in the wide receiver room, Benjamin being 6-5. In his second year with the Bills, and second year of a three-year contract, Holmes has an opportunity for an increased role with the team. The most important thing in his eyes is to make sure that he is helping the team win.
“We’re all just out there trying to help the team and doing our job,” said Holmes. “…The main thing is just going out there and doing what you got to do. Then everything will pan out.”
Despite a less than stellar rookie season, and a knee surgery that has kept him out of commission for the past few months, Zay Jones is still high in the running to be the number-two receiver behind Benjamin.
The Bills drafted Jones with the fifth pick in the second round in the 2017 draft sandwiched between Tre’Davious White and Dion Dawkins. The way White and Dawkins have lived up to their billing, expectations remain high for the second-year receiver. But in the rehab stage, McDermott has been pleased with what he has seen from Jones.
“He’s going through that rehab process and attacking it aggressively,” said McDermott. “… From now until we report to training camp in Rochester will be a critical time for Zay and his growth.”
With camp almost here, the hope is Jones will be on the field and aiming to prove he belongs on the Bills roster, and more importantly, on the field.
A third, but certainly not final option for the offense is Jeremy Kerley. After spending most of his career as a division rival to the Bills, the soon to be eight-year veteran has a chance to be an impact player in Buffalo.
The former New York Jet has the speed to be used as a deep threat, and the evasiveness for more complicated routes. All in all, Kerley could be an asset with a career renaissance after a down year in 2017.
“I’ve always said that I want to make myself an asset and an outlet to a quarterback,” said Kerley. “In this offense there are opportunities across the board for everyone. For me, whatever option I can be for these quarterbacks that’s what I’m trying to do.”
There are a lot more options for the Bills this offseason like, and with so many players jockeying for the spot, someone unexpected could also emerge to challenge for the prominent role.
“When you look at the wide receiver group in particular, Kelvin is one, but there are a couple other guys, many other guys, in fact, that have made a lot of plays in this part of the process in respect to OTAs and minicamp,” said McDermott. “The good part is [that] each and every day there are new players making a play… so it will bode for an interesting training camp. We’re counting on guys to step up, and so we’ve got a lot of work to do in that regard.”