The Buffalo Bills’ roster appears to be as deep and established as it has been in two decades. Add on top of that the unconventional COVID-19-influenced offseason and it will be no small accomplishment for an undrafted free agent to make the Bills’ roster in 2020.
Fullback Reggie Gilliam is an interesting prospect if Buffalo wanted to go a different direction at the position for their 2020 offense.
Reggie Gilliam FB/TE (University of Toldeo)
Gilliam made himself known on special teams more than any other position. In 2018 alone he blocked four kicks, contributing six total during his college career. He also developed a reputation as a powerful blocker, often being used in an H-back style lining up just behind offensive line and sliding into the hole as an extra lead blocker.
Gilliam’s hands were never his calling card. He ended his career with only 15 catches for 123 yards in his final two seasons at Toledo, although three of those catchers were for touchdowns.
Gilliam’s opportunity in 2020 is currently roadblocked by one player in particular: Patrick DiMarco. DiMarco is a leadership favorite, heavy special teams contributor, and underutilized offensive piece as the team’s only fullback. Almost every beat reporter is quick to say how much the Bills love DiMarco and his contributions to the locker room. Those intangibles are difficult to quantify, and they are also an area Gilliam is unable to contribute.
However, on the field, Gilliam would give the Bills the opportunity to (1) institute an H-Back component to the offense, (2) save 1.4 million on the cap by moving on from DiMarco, and (3) maintain special teams production.
Is Gilliam as reliable and productive as a traditional fullback like DiMarco? Probably not. Does he contribute to the leadership structure of the team to the same extent as DiMarco? Absolutely not. Does he bring youth, cap savings, and additional offensive capabilities compared to DiMarco? Yes. Whether or not that would be the direction the team goes when cut-down day comes will depend largely on what happens between now and then.