The Buffalo Bills spent much of the 2021 NFL season running “11” personnel. That means that they had three wideouts, one running back, and one tight end. (The 11 comes from the RB number plus the TE number.) In general, Buffalo did not use a fullback on offense, with the only one on their roster appearing on just 14% of the team’s offensive snaps. However, when the Bills did use a fullback, they leaned into the concept, using one on over twice that percentage (29%) in the playoffs.
Does that signal a change in philosophy? Was that a matchup that the offensive staff wanted to exploit? Will the Bills add another fullback during the summer? In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we focus on the lone fullback on Buffalo’s roster.
Name: Reggie Gilliam
Height/Weight: 6’ 244 lbs
Age: 24 (25 on 8/20/2022)
Experience/Draft: 3; signed with Bills as UDFA following the 2020 NFL Draft
Acquired: Signed as UDFA
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Gilliam enters the final year of his rookie contract, a three-year deal worth a total of $2.305 million. Should Gilliam make the final roster once again, he’ll carry a cap hit of $901,667 this year. The only guarantees that remain are a proration of his signing bonus, which was $20,000 in total. Gilliam carries a $6,667 dead-cap hit if he’s released.
2021 Recap: Gilliam was the lone fullback on the Bills’ roster last year, and he was one of the team’s top special teams contributors in terms of overall number of snaps played. Gilliam appeared on 315 special teams snaps, second only to Tyler Matakevich in that phase of the game. Gilliam played 16 games, making five starts overall. He played on 155 offensive snaps, and he caught three passes for 23 yards. He made three tackles on the year. During the playoffs, Gilliam played 35 snaps on offense, and he caught three passes for 12 yards.
Positional outlook: Gilliam is the position, so unless the Bills plan to move a tight end to an H-back role or sign another player, Gilliam is the man here.
2022 Offseason: Gilliam is healthy and he’s participated in OTAs thus far.
2022 Season outlook: There’s been some speculation that Buffalo is going to trend more towards “12” personnel (one tight end and two running backs—one of whom would be a fullback), so Gilliam would be the natural beneficiary of that shift. Gilliam is a near-lock to make the roster, as his utility on special teams combined with this potential offensive shift makes him extremely valuable. He’s a solid blocker with good hands who is a strong contributor on special teams. He’ll be on the squad come September.