With the start of the 2021 NFL regular season still months away, it seems to me that there’s no better time to discuss those particular Buffalo Bills players who could be considered “underrated” in the sense that their play on the field deserves more attention—either locally or nationally. They deserve more credit for their role on the team. Below are four options, but feel free to discuss additional names in the comments.
WR Gabriel Davis
Despite starting the season as the fourth option on the wide receiver depth chart, Davis had the best rookie season for a wideout since Sammy Watkins in 2014. His 35 catches for 599 yards was third on the team, and he particularly excelled as a vertical threat in the passing game. According to Pro Football Focus, Davis led all rookies last season with five touchdowns of 20 or more yards downfield. That comes in addition to his ability to block in the run game, where he acts almost as a move tight end in certain formations and was asked to match up against much bigger defenders. The arrow is pointing up for Davis as well, as he gains more experience in the offense and trust with Josh Allen.
S Jordan Poyer
The individual accolades haven’t necessarily been there for Poyer, but since joining the team in 2017, he’s been one of the top safeties in the NFL. Poyer is asked to do more on the field than maybe any other defender, in a role that asks him to come screaming down to stop the run or switch and disguise coverages on the backend. He truly excels in both roles, although his coverage deserves more attention, with Pro Football Focus ranking him seventh-best in coverage since 2017, while allowing opposing passers a 77.5 passer rating—the fourth-lowest at the position over that span.
CB Taron Johnson
Injuries and stretches of poor play have hampered Johnson in previous years, but during the 2020 season he was both healthy and effective in his role as a nickel corner. He played on 77 percent of Buffalo’s defensive snaps, the fifth-highest amount of all of the team’s defenders. Johnson was also third in tackles and third in pass breakups on the team. That is massive production from a slot corner. On top of that, Johnson had two interceptions for touchdowns—both of which came in crucial moments, and which directly led to Bills victories.
RB Zack Moss
Most football commentators recognize that the Bills’ offensive line’s ability to run block was pretty poor during the 2020 season and that the coaches want more efficiency and production in 2021. Despite those obvious struggles, rookie runner Zack Moss was able to finish with a respectable 4.3 yards per carry— all while looking like the more explosive runner over Devin Singletary when the blocking in front of him was steadfast. Throw in his 14 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, and Moss demonstrated that if he can stay healthy and if the blocking in front of him improves, he could become the team’s lead back.