The Buffalo Bills receiving core took a boost last offseason when they signed Cole Beasley and John Brown, which immediately helped Josh Allen last season. Brandon Beane decided to bring in a true receiver via trade, acquiring Stefon Diggs, rather than wait until the draft to give Allen a playmaker.
Even though this is the deepest receiver class in a long time, the Bills still decided to get a proven number one target instead of having to draft and develop one. That still doesn’t mean the Bills couldn’t go out on the second or third day and grab extra help on the outside. Today’s draft profile is on USC wide receiver Michael Pittman who shows potential flash to be a number two option in an offense. The last USC receiver to be drafted by the Bills was Robert Woods in 2013.
Name: Michael Pittman
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 223 pounds
In the Bills offense, Pittman should learn from the veterans in the receiving room with Brown, Beasley and Diggs. Even with Brown and Beasley passing their 30s, they still produce at the highest level possible for them but they are heading into the backend of their career. The team has a chance to bring in a young receiver in Pittman, who has a high ceiling as a play maker.
Big Bodied Receiver
Sean McDermott once referenced his receivers as “smurfs” because of how short they were, but they proved it’s the size of the fight in the dog rather than the physical size. That doesn’t mean that there does not need to be a big body. The Bills went out and signed Canadian Football League star receiver Duke Williams, who stands at 6’3″, 225 pounds but he was only seen in three games in 2019. Unless Williams shines in training camp, he may have a short season in 2020.
Pittman is a big receiver that provides as a big target anywhere around the field. While he would not be the down-the-field target for Allen, he is another option that the youngster has to launch the ball. The last big body receiver that the Bills last had was Kelvin Benjamin and that experiment failed miserably. Pair Allen with a speedy deep threat in Diggs and develop a big receiver in Pittman, and it could develop into a dangerous passing game.
For a big receiver, Pittman runs faster than the average big body player. The Bills have quickness on the outside for Allen, but do not have a big body with that type of speed. Very rarely did we see Brown or Beasley break away for a big gain after a catch, although it did occur at different points of the season.
The Bills offense needs more speed, even more than Diggs. Pittman brings speediness to a receiving core that is fast before the catch, but gets caught after the catch at times.
It’s not often that you see a receiver beat out coverage with physicality in the NFL, but that’s one of Pittman’s strengths. A receiver usually tries to outrun coverage to make a player, but Pittman is not afraid to get physical with a corner to create separation. Toughness is a crucial factor for the Bills offense.
If Pittman gets physical with a corner during a pass, that should be a bonus for the Bills offense when they try to run the ball.
Other than shining out as a receiver for the Trojans, Pittman was also a dominant special teams player. In his sophomore year in 2017, Pittman earned first-team All-Pac 12 honors as a special teams player which helped him land a role in the USC offense his last two years in the program.
McDermott is all about versatility on all three phases of the game. Not only would he serve as an extra weapon for Allen, but he is an extra productive contributor on special teams.