Monday, June 27, 2022

Bills Rumours: Former first-round pick at risk of missing final roster

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The Buffalo Bills will come into camp next month with a strong and talented group of wide receivers and some tough decisions – which could make a 9-year veteran look outside.

ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg gave an early guess on the team’s 53-man roster, predicting that a late addition in the offseason might not make the cut at wide receiver, though he might have a chance to impress on special teams.

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Getzenberg predicted the Bills would retain just six wide receivers this season, one fewer than the number the team had retained in previous years. She predicted two return specialists would not get roster spots, including free-agent newcomer Tavon Austin and sophomore Speedster Marquez Stevenson.

“Marquez Stevenson, a 2021 sixth-round pick, doesn’t make it here, but both he and veteran Tavon Austin have chances to earn a spot at camp as a returnee,” she wrote.

The Bills signed Austin, the former first-round pick of 2013, in June, and general manager Brandon Beane praised his speed.

“Tavon is 32 and you’re like, ‘I know he was running 4.2-something when he came out, which is why he was drafted so high. You say: ‘How does he look now?’ Tell you what, in his training he showed good speed and burst. He still has it,” Beane said via videoconference.

After a 2021 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars in which he returned just two punts for three total yards, Austin said he wants to prove he’s still the explosive playmaker drafted when he was drafted in by the St. Louis Rams drafted in the first round in 2013.

“I feel like a lot of people have forgotten Tavon Austin,” he said. “It wasn’t my time and that’s okay too. That’s one of the things I realized about this situation and my own journey.”

“I’m still looking forward to it. I’m back,” Austin added.

The Bills are once again fielding a deep and talented group of wide receivers. Though the team lost two veterans in Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders — who together had 184 total goals, nearly 30 percent of the team’s total goals for the season — they made up for it by signing slot receiver Jamison Crowder and drafting Khalil Shakir.

NFL.com’s Adam Schein also predicted a big season for Gabriel Davis, naming him one of the league’s top breakout contenders for 2022. After a slow start last season, Davis became one of quarterback Josh Allens’ favorite targets last season Straights and in the playoffs, culminating in a record-breaking performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, where he caught eight passes for 201 yards and an NFL-record four touchdowns.

“This guy is the truth, with 18 touchdowns in 37 career games (including the playoffs),” Schein wrote. “He’s a big threat with outstanding hands. No wonder his quarterback loves him.”

Davis also received high praise from Sanders, who predicted great things for his future.

“I know a lot of good recipients. He’s a Pro Bowl caliber player,” Sanders said during an appearance Good morning soccer. “This guy, how he attacks the football, do you give him the opportunity to start? Think about what he did in the Kansas City Chiefs game. … I have a feeling he’s going to have a breakout year. He’s a Pro Bowl caliber player. I’ve been with a lot of good recipients – Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Michael Thomas. This guy is different and he will make a difference to them.”

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“I know a lot of good recipients. He’s a Pro Bowl caliber player,” Sanders said during an appearance Good morning soccer. “This guy, how he attacks the football, do you give him the opportunity to start? Think about what he did in the Kansas City Chiefs game. … I have a feeling he’s going to have a breakout year. He’s a Pro Bowl caliber player. I’ve been with a lot of good recipients – Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Michael Thomas. This guy is different and he will make a difference to them.”



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