The Bills are getting Greg Roman a new set of wide receivers to work with.
With so many question marks at the wide receiver position going into the off-season, the Bills are bringing in some free agent pass catchers for Greg Roman to work with. Greg Roman is looking for a consistent #2 wide receiver to complement Sammy Watkins. While Robert Woods and Chris Hogan played well in 2015, consistency was lacking. After the bye week, Greg Roman was able to get Sammy open deep and Sammy capitalized. Sammy led the league in 20+ yard receptions with 13 receptions for 521 yards and 6 TDs. Defenses constantly rolled coverage to Sammy Watkin’s side leaving the #2 WR and slot WRs with opportunities for production.
Whaley went out and added free agent wide receiver Greg Little this week, to get him in the offense and working with QB Tyrod Taylor. Greg Little has not played since 2014, so how much he will contribute in 2016 is unknown. Little was a second round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2011. He has prototypical size measuring in at 6’2″, 220 pounds and he has a great vertical jump at 40.5″ (NFL.com).
After looking at some film on Little, I wonder where Roman plans on utilizing him. The wide receiver never really had a steady quarterback while in Cleveland and a lot of his big plays were from the slot. With his size and catch radius he was able to get behind the linebackers but gear down to catch the ball before the safeties. Greg can line up outside and from the slot. He isn’t going to burn defensive backs deep but he is really good at finding the holes in zones.
From his rookie season in 2011 through 2014, Little caught 78 balls from the slot, 890 yards and 5 touchdowns per Pro Football Focus (PFF). That is a pretty decent percentage from the slot considering he has only caught 161 balls for 1,870 yards for 8 touchdowns over the length of his career (ESPN.com). The Bills have 62 catches and 4 TDs from the slot since 2013, now those numbers are based on WRs that are currently under contract. So, those numbers don’t account for Hogan’s work from the slot since 2013. There are no receivers on the roster from 2011 or 2012.
Another strength of his is when the scramble drill occurs. When the QB is under duress, he is able to break off his route and use his body to shield defenders to bring in the catch.
I wouldn’t get too hyped about signing this guy, because the Bills are just trying to find WRs that will fit this offense on a limited budget. He has been plagued with drops since he came into the league racking up 32 drops in all. But maybe WRs coach Sanjay Lal can get some production out of a once talented player. Take a look at some of the plays made by Little over the years.
The offense will try to improve upon their successful season by giving Tyrod the full amount of reps all off-season and by adding a few new pieces that may help him out over the middle. Teams will watch film and do some different things versus Sammy Watkins next year, so Roman must counter with what he does on offense. Will Little make the squad in 2016? Only time will tell, but if he can build rapport with Tyrod he may just be able to carve out a niche in this offense.