Day two of the 2020 NFL Combine is in the books and it was a busy one. Here are some news and nuggets for #BillsMafia.
Wide Receivers a focus early, as expected
It was the first day of availability for the wide receivers in Indianapolis and, based on various reports, the Bills’ front office has been hard at work studying this class. The Bills already met several of the most intriguing options at the position, starting with Ohio State’s K.J. Hill.
KJ Hill (WR) of Ohio State says he has met with the #Bills.— Jenna Cottrell (@JennaCottrell) February 25, 2020
Hill’s impressed by Josh Allen and his leadership, he mentioned #BillsMafia and how he’s not afraid of playing in the cold pic.twitter.com/VJr3JcdYjr
Hill is a polished route runner who knows how to get open and impressed throughout Senior Bowl week with his reliable hands.
KJ Hill is always open pic.twitter.com/qvXFyHWNce
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 24, 2020
According to The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn, Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III and TCU’s Jalen Reagor have also met with the Bills. Ruggs played for current Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll in 2017, when Daboll was the coordinator in Tuscaloosa. Ruggs’s combination of play-making skills and blazing speed should put him near the top of the Bills’ board when the draft arrives.
— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) February 25, 2020
Reagor’s production declined in 2019 due to poor quarterback play, but his athleticism rivals Ruggs and will likely put him on the fringe of round one. Reports out of Indianapolis are that the organization put his football IQ to the test during their interview. Reagor would be a tremendous value if landed on day two.
LSU WR Justin Jefferson says he’s tight with Tre White, says White has given him a lot of advice about the path to the draft. Jefferson called White one of the best corners in the NFL.— Maddy Glab (@MadGlab) February 25, 2020
Colorado’s Laviska Shenault and LSU’s Justin Jefferson are two names that should be available when Buffalo is on the clock late in round one. Both also had their meetings with the team at the Combine.
Colorado WR Laviska Shenault says he had a good meeting with #Bills this week. #Also said he was impressed with Josh Allen in playoff game vs. Texans.— Matt Parrino (@MattParrino) February 25, 2020
(h/t @MadGlab for question). pic.twitter.com/bgYZzVYehx
Some other top names currently have meetings scheduled with Buffalo, inluding Clemson’s Tee Higgins and Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool. There’s been speculation that after gaining weight, Claypool is preparing to transition to tight end, which, given his ability to stress defenses down the seam and in the red zone, could be me a smart move.
Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool plans to meet with the Bills formally pic.twitter.com/JRf64IllfM— Josh Reed (@4JoshReed) February 25, 2020
Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane and his staff are exploring all options to improve the team’s receiving corps. With so many different skill-sets available, it’ll be interesting to follow their search for a new play-maker for Josh Allen.
Beane and McDermott address the media
With some important topics needing to be addressed, the GM and head coach talked to the media and offered some glimpses into the direction they’re moving going forward.
When asked about the wide receiver position, Beane was clear about not limiting himself into a particular type of player at the position: “Honestly, I’m looking for a good player,” he said. “I’ve said this before. Receiver, of all positions, probably comes in the Baskin Robbins 31 flavors. Size, speed, length, run after the catch, all sorts of variables. There are really small guys that do a lot of the stuff Isaiah McKenzie does behind the line of scrimmage. There are guys I call playing above the rim.” Regardless of who they draft, that player must help the Bills’ offense score more points.
“There are a lot of reasons that go into it, but we need to score more points.”
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) February 26, 2020
While the Bills had an offer on the table for Greg Olsen, the former Panther, they don’t seem fazed by the future Hall of Famer choosing the Seahawks. Despite the interest in the veteran, it doesn’t look like the position sits at the top of the priorities list for McDermott. “I’m very confident in that position group and, as you talk about some of the areas we struggled at that position, I think youth factored into some of that,” he said. With Dawson Knox and Tommy Sweeney entering their sophomore season, it’s fair to expect more production and consistency from them.
Another topic addressed by Beane was the way they’re dealing with their own free agents. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and defensive end Shaq Lawson will be allowed to test the open market and, as expected, the Bills won’t be overpaying (or using tags) to keep them. Beane made an appearance on One Bills Live and spoke glowingly about Lawson and how far he has come. “I was very pleased with Shaq, how he played this year. I thought he did take a nice step forward — on the field, off the field. He is a guy that when we first got here, I wasn’t quite sure in 2017, if he was going to buy in. I owe him a lot and I’m sure Sean (McDermott) would echo that.”
The final big news of the day involved former Panthers and Redskins star cornerback Josh Norman, a guy who enjoyed his best seasons playing in McDermott’s defense. Norman is 32 years old and has struggled in back-to-back seasons, surrendering a total of 81 catches for 1,116 yards and 16 touchdowns. Playing in a McDermott- and Frazier led-defense may be his best shot to salvage the tail end of his career.
It’s been mentioned today, but the #Bills have indeed had discussions with cornerback Josh Norman, who is a free agent after being released recently by Washington. Norman is a known commodity given his time with McDermott and Beane in Carolina. Nothing imminent at this time.
— Jay Skurski (@JaySkurski) February 25, 2020