We’re counting down the best, most important, most impressive early career Buffalo Bills. These players are the closest thing to a “farm system” for an NFL team, and ideally they’re playing major roles in the team’s success. For every Von Miller the team’s signing in free agency, they’re only able to work that tactic by supporting him with a handful of younger, cost-controlled players.
It’s down to the top three players on this list, and every one of these is a high-impact starter for the team. Coming in third is a player who seems like he’s on the verge of establishing himself as a Pro Bowl talent. Everyone stand up and recognize the team’s third-year starting wide receiver, Gabriel Davis!
The list so far
- Number 4: DE Greg Rousseau
- Number 5: RB Devin Singletary
- Number 6: CB Kaiir Elam
- Number 7: OL Ryan Bates
- Number 8: DT Tim Settle
- Number 9: K Tyler Bass
- Number 10: OT Spencer Brown
- Honorable mentions: Boogie Basham, A.J. Epenesa, Zack Moss, James Cook
Number 3: WR Gabriel Davis (turned 23 on April 1)
Now presenting the most obvious breakout candidate among any of the Buffalo Bills. In his first two seasons Davis had almost identical stat lines: 62 targets, 35 catches, 599 yards, 7 TDs in 2020, and 63 targets, 35 catches, 549 yards, 6 TDs in 2021. He had veterans like John Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and Cole Beasley taking most of the spare oxygen in the room for that two-year span. So Davis, though he impressed when they called his number, wasn’t picking up the phone as much as he could’ve.
But with all the chips down, Davis had an out-of-this-world performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2021 playoffs, catching eight of ten targets for 201 yards and four TDs. That receiving yardage? Ninth best all-time, in the neighborhood of Hall of Fame talents like Jerry Rice, Calvin Johnson, and Steve Smith. The TD count? Davis stands alone at number one.
Obviously, don’t expect Davis to turn in a game like that every week of the upcoming season. But with him ascending to the WR2 role, and Josh Allen in the prime of his career, the Bills have another great opportunity for two 1,000-yard receivers. The last time that happened: 20 years ago, with Eric Moulds and Peerless Price.