Free agency frenzy is over, the NFL draft is over and done with…up next is training camp and the 2018 season. The Bills have had one of the busiest offseasons’ and Brandon Beane has been the man leading the team, hopefully in the right direction. The roster looks to be about the same compared to last year. Some positions upgraded and some downgraded.
No matter how the Bills perform this year, no matter who is under center, there are three specific players who have the best chance to really breakthrough for the team in 2018. Whether it’s making game-changing plays, making an impact every game, or improving production from previous seasons.
The list are as follows:
WR Zay Jones
Coming off a disappointing rookie season and an arrest this past offseason, Jones has a lot to prove going into his second season. In 15 games, Jones hauled in 27 catches for 316 yards an two touchdowns. Jones will have a passing quarterback throwing to him whether it’s A.J. McCarron, Josh Allen or Nathan Peterman. Tyrod Taylor is not a true pass first quarterback. A majority of the passes last season were short routes, and Jones was rarely ever around for them.
In college, Jones was in the slot and it helped him become the all-time leader in receptions in college football. Jones did not play in the slot with his first season in Buffalo which could have majorly affected his production. Even though the Bills are weak at the wide receiver position, Sean McDermott can get production out of Jones in the slot. No matter who is throwing the ball, Jones can rise as one of the team’s biggest offensive playmakers.
LB Tremaine Edmunds
This was a major steal for the Bills on draft night. What was expected to be a top ten draft pick, the Bills not only secured their hopeful second coming of Jim Kelly in Allen, but an immediate starter and potential star in Edmunds at pick #16. At 20 years old, Edmunds has a long career ahead of him and his ceiling is very high. An excellent run stopper who can also disrupt the pass.
He may very well become the Tre’Davious White player this year. A rookie who comes in an makes an immediate impact for the team. White helped stabilize the secondary, and Edmunds could boost the linebacker core going into Week 1. Expect a young and physical Edmunds to help the defense immediately this season.
TE Nick O’Leary
This might come as a surprise. Or does it? Since being drafted by the Bills in 2015, O’Leary has gone up in production each year. It’s not starters’ stats, but the productions keeps increasing no matter what. He is one of the more underrated players on the teams who comes up big in crucial moments. He played under the Tyrod Taylor era, now it’s time for a new quarterback for him.
Depending on what Brian Daboll has in store for O’Leary, he can become a crucial factor in the passing game. He’s another weapon for the man under center and very rarely does he ever drop a pass, even with no gloves.
Brandon Ray is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL and the Buffalo Bills. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_ray79 and @FPC_Bills for Bills coverage.