While there were plenty of positives for the Buffalo Bills in 2017 — snapping the team’s 17-year playoff drought, winning six games at New Era Field for the team’s best home record since the 1999 season, seeing a revamped secondary help spark the defense, and watching the special teams unit develop into a top-10 squad — there was one area where the Bills lagged far behind their NFL competition: yards after catch among their wide receivers.
With a group of underwhelming wide receivers — led by Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Jordan Matthews, Deonte Thompson, and Andre Holmes, Buffalo’s wide receivers managed only 373 total yards after the catch in 2017.
Thompson, who signed with the team on Oct. 20, was Buffalo’s leader with 82 yards after the catch on 27 receptions, followed by Jones (51 yards after the catch on 27 catches), Benjamin (19 yards after the catch on 16 grabs), and Holmes (11 yards after the catch on 13 receptions).
The Bills did have a pair of players, tight end Charles Clay and running back LeSean McCoy, who performed well in yards after the catch, as McCoy led the team with 352 yards after the catch on his 59 receptions, while Clay added 204 yards after the catch on his 49 receptions.
Yards after the catch from WRs by team in 2017! pic.twitter.com/3ctuHJ5sKN— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 4, 2018
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receivers led the league in WR YAC (1,162), followed by the Detroit Lions (1,130 yards), the Los Angeles Chargers (1.094), the Green Bay Packers (1,069), and the Miami Dolphins (1,048).
The bottom five were the Bills (373), the Baltimore Ravens (403), the Chicago Bears (413), the Cleveland Browns (496), and the Indianapolis Colts (532). Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, and Indianapolis all made significant free agent investments this offseason. Buffalo’s biggest addition was Jeremy Kerley, who only caught 22 passes a year ago, while adding two very receivers very late in the draft.