Outside of veteran Kelvin Benjamin, the Buffalo Bills boast many options at wide receiver, but each of those options comes with question marks.
There’s 2017 second-round draft pick Zay Jones (drafted 37th overall), who suffered through an inconsistent rookie season that saw him be targeted 74 times (tied for second on the team) but come down with only 27 catches for 316 yards with two touchdowns. Drops were a major issue for Jones.
Former first-round draft pick Corey Coleman, a speedster who hauled in 56 passes for 718 yards with five touchdowns in his two seasons in Cleveland, but who also missed 13 games due to a broken hand injury suffered each season, was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
Jeremy Kerley seems destined to line up as a slot receiver after signing a free agent contract with the Bills this offseason, while Andre Holmes, Malachi Dupre, and Rod Streater seem among the most likely returners to contribute at wide receiver this year.
We asked Football Outsiders which options will step up and secure the Nos. 2 and 3 spots on the wide receiver depth chart.
“It’s a hard question to answer,” Rivers McCown said. “From the outside, the answer is easy: Corey Coleman was an easy first-round pick for me and I thought he was a good buy-low opportunity for a Bills team in desperate need of outside help. The fact that Coleman could only draw nominal interest, though, is concerning in and of itself. The next three weeks are huge for his career.”
“I think the easiest answers to your question are Holmes and Kerley. Holmes is such a size-speed mismatch that he appeals heavily to coaches who look at this sort of thing and not at who will actually catch a football. He also is probably the best blocker in the group, which I think will be a big draw in a close competition. Kerley will be catching 30 balls a season for a weak passing offense in 2039, that’s just what he was built to do. While I wasn’t necessarily down on Zay Jones as a prospect, it’s clear he has some good will to restore at this point.”
Ray-Ray McLoud, a sixth round draft pick in 2018, Austin Proehl, selected with the next-to-last pick of the draft, and undrafted free agents Cam Phillips and Robert Foster are two other names to watch as the wide receiver depth chart shakes out over the coming weeks.
While there aren’t a lot of household names among the corps of wide receivers, there will be ample opportunities for the wide receivers to step up and contribute in offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s system.