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2019 Buffalo Bills scouting report: wide receiver Robert Foster

A breakout player in 2018, the second-year man is in a dog fight for reps at a revamped receiver position

NFL: Buffalo Bills-Training Camp Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills were a mess at the wide receiver position last season. Ostensibly, the group was led by veteran Kelvin Benjamin, a player not necessarily known for his work ethic and leadership. Zay Jones was still developing, and he was also coming off a rather tumultuous offseason. The quarterback situation didn’t make things any better, as Nathan Peterman was named the starter before giving way to a raw rookie in Josh Allen.

Heading into the 2019 season, however, the receiver group looks totally different. Gone are lumbering targets like Benjamin and Andre Holmes. In their place are smaller, faster players who create their own space rather than occupying a large amount of it. One of those targets who was expected to play a big role in 2019 was a breakout star of Buffalo’s 2018 offense. However, if the early reps are any indication, he won’t have anything handed to him this year.

In our latest installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we look at a former undrafted rookie who rose to become the favorite target of Josh Allen during their rookie season.

Name: Robert Foster

Number: 16

Position: WR

Height/Weight: 6’2” 196 lbs.

Age: 25 (26 on 5/7/20)

Experience/Draft: 2; signed as UDFA with Bills following the 2018 NFL Draft

College: Alabama

Acquired: Signed as UDFA on 5/11/18

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Foster’s contract is up at the end of the 2019 season, as it’s a deal that he signed after he was cut in the middle of last season. For 2019, his cap charge is $570,000, and the Bills can cut him with no penalty if they so choose.

2018 Recap: Foster had a unique rookie season for sure. After signing with the Bills as an undrafted free agent, he made the team out of training camp. He was targeted nine times in the team’s first six games, and he only made two receptions for 30 yards. Following Buffalo’s 20-13 loss to the Houston Texans, Foster was released and re-signed to the practice squad. The Bills re-elevated him to the active roster prior to their game against the New York Jets on November 11, and Foster took off from there. He caught three passes for 105 yards in that game alone, and he had a “slash line” of 25/511/3 in the final seven games of the season. He made those 25 catches on only 35 targets. Foster’s yardage total for his rookie season surpassed his receiving yardage total for his entire college career, as he only caught 35 passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns during his time at Alabama.

Positional outlook: Foster finds himself in a suddenly crowded field at receiver, with veterans John Brown, Cole Beasley, and Andre Roberts joining him and Zay Jones in the top five at the position. Cam Phillips, Ray-Ray McCloud, David Sills V, Duke Williams, Isaiah McKenzie, Victor Bolden Jr., and Nick Easley round out the position group.

2019 Offseason: Foster has participated in nearly all offseason activities—he missed some time in minicamp due to a foot injury, but it wasn’t serious enough to cause him to miss any time at the beginning of training camp. In camp, he has appeared to be the fourth receiver, as Brown, Jones, and Beasley have seen most of the time with the starting unit. Even Roberts has taken time away from Foster in the early going.

2019 Season outlook: Speculation in the Twitterverse regarding Foster’s role has varied wildly, with some calling him the team’s top wideout before the open of camp to others saying that he could be cut after camp opened. The truth lies somewhere in between—Foster is a talented player who needs to become more than just a deep guy, and with the addition of two stellar veterans, the coaching staff seems to view Jones as the more complete wideout as compared to Foster. I think Foster is safe, and I also think he’ll continue to be a productive deep threat for this team. Especially with the addition of another burner in John Brown, the Bills’ offense will be able to put pressure on defenses in multiple ways this season. Foster will still be a big part of what Buffalo does.