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Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns: rookie report

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How each Bills rookie performed last night against the Browns

The Buffalo Bills earned a preseason victory against the Cleveland Browns in their second 2018 preseason game Friday night. How did the Bills eight 2018 NFL Draft picks, including quarterback Josh Allen, perform? Pretty darn well for the most part. Read about each rookie’s performance below.

QB Josh Allen

Allen entered the game early in the second quarter and immediately provided a spark, marching the team right down the field and completing a pretty pass to Rod Streater for a touchdown. On the touchdown throw, Allen showed off his quick feet in avoiding a free rusher, resetting himself and delivering a strike to Streater. The very next drive, the rookie quarterback successfully commanded the two-minute offense, utilizing short throws and scrambles, and earned himself a field goal. Overall it was a solid day at the office for the 7th overall pick, finishing 9-of-13 for 60 yards and the aforementioned touchdown pass.

LB Tremaine Edmunds

In college, Edmunds was a player more known for his athleticism and physicality, not his instincts and that seems to have carried over into the pros. Against the Browns, whenever there was motion or “window dressing” in the backfield, Edmunds would either lose sight of the ball or was hesitant to fill the correct hole in the run game. This led to a big gain by Carlos Hyde early in the first quarter. However, when Edmunds was able to keep his eye on the ball carrier in simpler looks and use his speed, he made some positive plays. His best play of the night came late in the second quarter when he shot through a gap and brought down Hyde for a two-yard loss.

DT Harrison Phillips

Phillips got some extended time with the starters, thanks to a Kyle Williams injury, and didn’t make much of an impact. He was able to bullrush his lineman and redirect some runs, but didn’t get much pressure on his pass rushes. His sole tackle came on a Baker Mayfield scramble on a third and long.

CB Taron Johnson

Johnson actually got the start at nickel corner and rewarded the coach’s faith by turning in a solid performance. In the first quarter, Johnson was the victim of a scary crackback block by not-at-all-a-dirty-player Jarvis Landry, but managed to shake it off. He had a decisive tackle-for-loss on a first-and-goal on the Browns first drive. Then, on the Browns second drive, successfully dropped into zone coverage against Landry, forcing a throwaway from Tyrod Taylor.

SS Siran Neal

Neal’s highlight of the night came on a sack of Browns backup quarterback Drew Stanton. Neal timed the snap well, blitzed off the edge, and caught Stanton from behind to force a punt. That play came after the rookie got the wind knocked out of him in coverage on an incomplete pass.

OG Wyatt Teller

Teller had a quiet night, which is exactly what you want from an offensive lineman. His pass protection was flawless, not surrendering any pressures, and his run blocking was on point, especially when he was able to meet linebackers at the second level. He also appeared to get lazy on a few run blocks, using poor technique and dropping his head.

WR Ray-Ray McCloud III

McCloud caught a pass from Nathan Peterman on a crossing route that resulted in a 12-yard gain, but that was his only target. He was tripped up on a third down play in the third quarter that might have resulted in a completion if he was able to keep his feet.

WR Austin Proehl

The much-maligned rookie wideout had his best preseason performance to date with 2 catches for 26 yards. A nifty 19-yard pirouette catch in the fourth quarter extended the Bills drive and allowed the team to put the game on ice. If Proehl can string together more performances like this one, perhaps he can earn himself a spot on the practice squad.

UDFA Notes

  • Levi Wallace was able to plant and drive on a short pass early in the third quarter and earned a pass breakup.
  • UDFA running back Keith Ford was kept in check for most of the day and finished with 9 carries for 23 yards.
  • UDFA wide receiver, and training camp darling, Cam Phillips had one catch for 5 yards.