After missing on Jeremy Maclin, attention has turned to the many wide receivers currently on the Buffalo Bills roster to begin monitoring who’ll emerge as the reliable complementary options to Sammy Watkins.
The Bills are only in minicamp, but the performance of Buffalo’s receivers will be something we cover closely from here on out during the 2017 season.
Despite being a rookie and his time spent in a gadget offense in college, Zay Jones is the penciled in No. 2 receiver. How about the No. 3 target?
Multiple reports on hand at One Bills Drive quoted Sean McDermott signing the praises of free-agent acquisition Andre Holmes:
#Bills McDermott: WR Andre Holmes has done a phenomenal job. He's been a nice pick up for us so far.— Andy Young (@AndyYoungTV) June 13, 2017
"The guy that's really stood out (at WR) is Andre (Holmes). Not only on offense, but special teams, too." -- McDermott— Sal Capaccio (@SalSports) June 13, 2017
Here’s McDermott’s full quote, courtesy of BuffaloBills.com:
“I'll tell you the guy that's really stood out has been Andre [Holmes]. He's done a phenomenal job, not only on offense, but also special teams. Very solid performer day-to-day, consistent and just really - that's been a nice pickup for us so far and I really appreciate his leadership."
Remember, it’s early, and we’re at peak “everyone looks good” mode across the entire NFL. Rarely does a coach give a negative soundbite about one of his players at this time of year. However, McDermott’s comment wasn’t simply about Holmes’ play alone, it pinpointed how he’s stood out in a crowded receiver room. That’s an important distinction.
After the Maclin news dropped, our staff had a little back-and-forth in the Rumblings chat room about who’ll be the primary options after Watkins this year. Matt Warren mentioned among active Bills receivers, Holmes has the second-largest contract, with an average yearly value of $1.716 million. Buffalo is paying him more than double what Philly Brown will make.
Of course that doesn’t automatically mean Holmes will see the second-most targets in 2017. However, it does indicate how the Bills felt about him during the free-agency period.
Holmes is a unique talent at 6’4” and 210 pounds. His 6.69 three-cone time at the 2011 combine is exactly what Odell Beckham Jr. clocked at the combine three years later despite weighing 12 pounds less and being five inches shorter. Holmes has 4.51 speed. Robert Woods ran a 4.51 in his 40-yard dash at the 2013 combine. To get a gauge on his explosiveness capabilities, Holmes broad jump of 130” was only two inches shorter than Marquise Goodwin’s. Lastly, Holmes vertical of 35” was the same as the 5’10”, 199-pound Golden Tate’s.
Strangely, Holmes has 8 5/8” hands, which places him in the 8th percentile among receivers at the combine since 1999.
In essence, Holmes has the highest athleticism upside of any complementary wideout on Buffalo’s roster. His “phenomenal” work very early in the offseason puts him squarely on the radar as an intriguing player to follow intently this summer.