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Buffalo Bills scouting report: wide receiver Duke Williams

Our look at the whole of Buffalo’s roster begins with the biggest of their wideouts

It’s back! Here it is—our yearly look at every player on Buffalo’s roster, misleadingly titled “90 players in 90 days.” The title is misleading this year for a few reasons: first, the Buffalo Bills don’t currently have 90 players on their roster. Second, the team is bound to make a few moves at the back end, meaning that we’ll have more than 90 players to discuss throughout the spring and summer months. Last, thanks to international addition Christian Wade, the team will have an exemption allowing it to carry 91 players until the final 53-man roster is due.

Speaking of international players, Buffalo added two players who played professional sports in different countries last season. One is Wade, the rugby player from the United Kingdom, and the other is the subject of our first installment of “90 (or so) players in 90 days” for the 2019 offseason.

Name: D’haquille “Duke” Williams

Number: 82

Position: WR

Height/Weight: 6’3” 225 lbs.

Age: 26 (27 on 5/13/20)

Experience/Draft: 1; undrafted in 2016, spent 2017-2018 in CFL

College: Auburn

Acquired: Signed reserve/future with Bills on 1/7/19

Financial situation (per Over the Cap): Williams inked a reserve/future deal that keeps him with the Bills through the 2020 season. In 2019, he will count $495,000 against the cap if he makes the roster.

2018 Recap: Williams was an absolute monster in the CFL this past year. He led the league in receiving yards (1,579) and receiving touchdowns (11), and he was also among the league’s leaders in receptions (88; 4th) and targets (152; 3rd). He also became a viral sensation for absolutely obliterating a defensive back who taunted him pre-snap.

Positional outlook: Williams finds himself in a much different receiver room than he did when he first signed his contract with Buffalo. While the Bills decided not to draft any wideouts, they did add two via free agency, inking veterans John Brown and Cole Beasley, who should both see significant playing time. The team also signed veteran returner Andre Roberts, who should make the final roster as a specialist. With returning starters Zay Jones and Robert Foster entering their third and second years, respectively, this is a hard rotation to crack. The Bills also added David Sills V and Nick Easley as undrafted free agents. Buffalo’s other receivers include Victor Bolden Jr., Ray-Ray McCloud III, Isaiah McKenzie, Cam Phillips, and DeMari Scott.

2019 Offseason: Williams participated in rookie minicamp last weekend, as he was granted an exemption even though he isn’t a true rookie due to his time in the CFL. Most reports suggested that he looked excellent throughout the minicamp, showing off solid hands, route running, and polish at the position. He seems to be quite motivated, taking nothing for granted in this second chance at an NFL job.

2019 Season outlook: Williams has completely different traits than all of Buffalo’s other receivers. His frame allows him to box out corners, and while the Bills have emphasized smaller, twitchier receivers this offseason, Williams could serve as the big-bodied possession type who fills out the grouping. With a top four of Jones, Brown, Beasley, and Foster (not necessarily in that order) seeming most likely, and Roberts likely to join them as a return man, that leaves one or two spots on the 53-man roster for the taking. Williams will need to impress during training camp and the preseason in order to make the roster, and he will have to continue doing so in order to crack what looks to be a crowded receiver rotation for this fall. His physical approach to the game should give him a leg up on his competition heading into training camp.