As we inch closer to a more normal offseason and a potential training camp taking place, roster-battle conversations are being revived. Among the most log-jammed positions on the Buffalo Bills is the wide receiver room with newcomers Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins seeming to be at a disadvantage.
However, back in his comments made after the draft, Bills general manager Brandon Beane acknowledged that both of them were need picks as opposed to solely best-player-available moves.
“Gabriel Davis was the highest player on our board,” said Beane. “When he went even though it was a need, as well. He truly was the highest guy, not every guy was the highest guy, but he was. Hodgins was not the highest guy but he was equal with a position that we felt Hodgins had a better chance to make our roster.”
The fact that Beane believes a sixth-round wide receiver has a better shot at making the roster than other potential picks at that point in the draft speaks to both Hodgins’s ability but also to the (appropriate) lack of commitment from the front office to the back of the WR room. The need aspect of getting more talent in the WR room seemed to be focused on two characteristics to the Bills; catch radius and reliable hands.
“[Davis] didn’t run a variety of routes in that offense, and I do think that might have hurt him a little bit. I think there is some unknowns,” acknowledged Beane. “Big player. Vertical stretch can go up, high point the ball, contested balls. And again, a size guy. He’s a strong guy. He’s got some run after catch. We just liked the way he competes, thought he had a really good year. And I thought his hands were one of his strong points.”
“Hodgins was a guy… I don’t know if he had more than one or two drops this year,” continued Beane. “Maybe two or three, I don’t remember, but he double-moved people. Really good feel for setting people up and guys biting on. I don’t think I saw a receiver win on double moves more than him. And again, another catch radius, bigger guy, bigger frame player. He was even taller than Davis so those two guys will come in and they’ll be competing.”
When asked about giving weapons to Josh Allen specifically, Beane was quick to mention it was just as much for the offensive coordinator as the quarterback.
“Just trying to give Brian [Daboll] as many variations, not to have all the same small guys, fast guys, big guys. I like that,” said Beane. “This receiver draft, you know, it was true, we talked about all spring. This was a deep class and I mean there were some really good receivers; small, big, fast. Quick. I thought a lot of teams got better at the receiver position. It should make for better offense. Defense will be at a premium trying to stop some of these offenses.”
Even with a truncated and largely virtual offseason, it seems as though that Brandon Beane, at least shortly after the draft, believed that both of these players were important pieces to the puzzle for the Bills’ offense and expected to not only help Josh Allen, but Brian Daboll as well.