Immediately after the NFL Draft, the rush of UDFA signings begins with great fervor. The push to sign the best of the remaining players not drafted, finding the next hidden gem on a cheap contract. The hopes that this crop of UDFA’s will produce some NFL talent is always possible, but far from guaranteed. The latest signing by the Buffalo Bills is Toledo FB/TE Reggie Gilliam. Let’s take a look at his injury history.
Career at Toledo
One thing that assists Gilliam in making the Bills’ roster is that he has a non-existent injury history. Through his time at Toledo he appeared in 40 games and played in every game the past three seasons. Gilliam played in only one game in 2016 as a freshman, but information could not be found to support any injury.
This article notes that he was a walk-on following his senior year of high school, which could explain the limited playing time his freshman year. He eventually found a role with the Rockets, demonstrating his propensity to block kicks while excelling on special teams. His use in the offense was limited, catching 18 passes for 153 yards at three touchdowns over his career. That stat line has shades of TE Dawson Knox during his time at Ole Miss, indicating that both players may have been underutilized.
Bills Injury Impact
The life of a UDFA in the NFL isn’t glamorous, but given the right opportunities, a career can be made from it. Considering Gilliam was a candidate for the Campbell award—given to the nation’s top scholar-athlete and also nominated for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year for leadership—he certainly shows traits that could help him excel in the NFL.
Gilliam isn’t immune from injury due to his past, but his ability to make the team in any capacity is razor thin; any significant injury could derail his chances. He doesn’t appear at risk for any specific injury, but any injury is bad news for someone in his position. Time will tell if Gilliam is another camp body or a player who rises above and finds a spot on an NFL roster.