The Buffalo Bills have retooled their receiving corps over the last few seasons. What was once a group headlined by Kelvin Benjamin now boasts elite talent all throughout, as Buffalo has gone from one of the NFL’s worst pass-catcher groups to one of the league’s best in merely three seasons.
This level of talent makes it incredibly difficult for young players to break into the lineup, but it’s also because of the number of solid young players that the group is considered as deep as it is. That paradox isn’t one that Bills fans should take lightly, as the great likelihood is that the Bills will end up releasing players at wide receiver come September who not only will catch on with other teams, but will contribute on those rosters.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of those young wideouts in Buffalo—a player who could make the roster or end up elsewhere this season.
Name: Isaiah Hodgins
Height/Weight: 6’3” 201 lbs.
Age: 22 (23 on 10/21/2021)
Experience/Draft: 1; selected in the sixth round (No. 207 overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft
College: Oregon St.
Acquired: NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Second year of rookie contract ($699,722 cap hit; $119,166 dead-cap charge if cut)
2020 Recap: Hodgins participated in Buffalo’s offseason work, but he was placed on injured reserve thanks to a shoulder injury on September 6. He was designated to return from IR on November 24, and he began practicing with the team thereafter. He had surgery on his injured shoulder on December 8 and missed the rest of the season.
Positional outlook: Hodgins faces an uphill battle for a roster spot, as the receiver group is arguably the most loaded positional group on Buffalo’s roster. The Bills have Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley, Isaiah McKenzie, Gabriel Davis, Duke Williams, Tanner Gentry, Jake Kumerow, Tre Walker, Brandon Powell, and Marquez Stevenson all competing for spots.
2021 Offseason: Hodgins should be fully recovered from his surgery and ready to roll in time for training camp this summer.
2021 Season outlook: Hodgins was a productive collegiate receiver, finishing his three years at Oregon State with 176 catches, 2,322 yards, and 20 touchdowns in 34 games. While he lacks elite speed, he is plenty shifty as a route runner, and his size is something that the Bills lack overall at the receiver position, as only one wideout who is projected to make the roster (Gabriel Davis) stands over 6’ tall. Hodgins is going to slot in anywhere from No. 5 to No. 8 on the receiving depth chart, and whether he makes the roster or not will be determined by where he falls in that range and also how many wideouts the Bills keep. If they are stuck between a return specialist and Hodgins, the second-year man will probably be out of luck. However, if he can make the most of some chances during the preseason, the Bills may just have themselves a solid depth piece for the present—and a nice developmental prospect for the years to come.