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Four Downs: Buffalo Bills breakout candidates for 2021 season

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills are just days away from the start of the 2021 season, so it’s time to look at some players I consider breakout candidates in this week’s edition of Four Downs. Share your thoughts on breakout candidates below in the comments section.


Gregory Rousseau

It’s not often that I would include a rookie in a list like this, but I am willing to make an exception for Rousseau. By all accounts, the 30th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft has shined on the practice field and preseason, raising expectations for his first season. While it remains to be seen if the Miami product will start against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I do expect him to play a significant amount of snaps in Week 1. If Rousseau can increase production from the defensive end group this season, he can become an immediate star in Buffalo.

Devin Singletary

The third-year running back has an opportunity to shine for the Bills this year. Singletary is a capable rusher, pass catcher, and blocker—giving him the flexibility to be successful in offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s system. While I don’t expect the Bills to employ a lead back, I think Singletary has over 50 receptions and over 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season. That may not qualify as a breakout season in league circles, but would make him incredibly valuable to the Bills.

Isaiah McKenzie

Now that McKenzie will be the primary kick and punt returner for the Bills, he has the opportunity to elevate his profile as a breakout player. Replacing Andre Roberts, who had two Pro Bowl seasons in Buffalo, is no small task—but McKenzie should be up for the challenge. McKenzie’s success on offense, combined with the opportunity returning kicks, makes him an easy choice as a breakout player.

Ed Oliver

The former first-round pick enters his third season in Buffalo, with many asking if he will reach his potential at defensive tackle. The return of Star Lotulelei should certainly make life easier for Oliver, as will the addition of the aforementioned Rousseau. The stage is set for Oliver to have a breakout season that many expected in 2020, as quite possibly the most important player on this list.