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Opinion: Gabriel Davis gives the Buffalo Bills a new flavor

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A true go-up-and-get-it receiver.

The Buffalo Bills clearly wanted to dip their toe into the 2020 NFL Draft’s loaded wide receiver class. They did so in the fourth round at pick 128 with UCF’s Gabriel Davis. Davis had one of the most productive 2019 seasons of any of the receivers in this year’s draft class. He’ll be a perfect developmental fourth wide receiver to sit behind Stefon Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley that offers a fresh mix of ball skills and solid vertical athleticism to the Bills offense.

Davis exploded onto the national scene in 2019 with impressive production, catching 72 passes for 1,241 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns for the Knights. That is a whopping 17.2 yards per catch. Davis comes to the league with an NFL-ready frame at 6’2” and 216 lbs. Davis has the ball skills to produce at the next level and he wins press coverage by swiping hands off of him early on and throughout his route.

While he is not the most gifted athlete, Davis finds ways to win early to get on top of corners. He will go and get the ball and it is a special thing to have a player with his ball skills and adequate long speed in the fourth round.

I called Gabriel Davis a “B-version” of Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins who was picked at number 33 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. Knowing the Bills did a lot of work on Higgins, he and Davis do very similar things on the football field. They both have similar strengths in ball skills and adequate long speed. However, they share weaknesses with limited route trees and below average short area burst. Davis ran a 4.54 40-yard dash with a 35” vertical at the combine, proving he may have some explosiveness to unlock in his game.

Davis is exactly the receiver the Bills needed with upside to go along with already advanced ball skills and quite adequate athleticism to work with. While Davis is not a household name, he may turn heads sooner rather than later. With the additions of A.J. Epenesa, Zack Moss, and now Davis, Brandon Beane and company are finding young players who have produced at an elite level in college who will fill roles right away for the Bills.