At the end of the July, the Buffalo Bills will embark upon something they haven’t gone for in quite some time — as they’ll attempt to make it to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. With head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane at the helm, the team is almost completely different than what it was two years ago.
As the Bills get ready for training camp in late July, 7ABC will take a look at the team on the field — and more specifically, the top talent that exists on the roster that can help the Bills get back to the postseason. You’ll be introduced to the Bills’ ‘Top 20 Talents’ for the upcoming season in 2018.
It's a bit of a different 'most talented' list because it also takes other factors into consideration. The countdown criteria:
- Overall skill-level
- On-the-field performance
- Projection based on film study over the past several years
- Age, and improving/declining ability
With that written, on to the countdown:
No. 7 - WR Kelvin Benjamin
Age: 27 (DOB: 2/5/1991)
Why he’s here:
- The Bills don't have a lot of offensive firepower heading into the 2018 season, but they do have one of the more different receivers in all the NFL on their roster. Kelvin Benjamin, considering his frame and skill-set, creates a massive mismatch for most cornerbacks in the NFL in a jump-ball or possession reception situation. He has strong hands, and even though he lacks the speed to separate consistently enough, he's able to win by bringing down receptions that not many other receivers can. Benjamin is among the best jump-ball specialists in the league and could find chemistry with a quarterback like Josh Allen that gives his receivers a chance to make a play. Though 27, he still can play at a similar level for two-to-three more years at least barring injuries.
- It's a contract year for Benjamin, but he is, without doubt, the far and away top receiver on the entire roster. They will depend on him to be the prime target, as receivers go, for whichever quarterback winds up winning the starting job ahead of the 2018 regular season. Benjamin needs to prove two things along the way. He has the stay healthy, and he must show that he's a similar player to what he was earlier in his career -- because the potential is there. If all goes well, Benjamin could be setting himself up for a big contract as an unrestricted free agent -- or even with the Bills should they deem him a core building block moving forward. The Bills aren't likely to commit to him until he shows well, if he develops strong chemistry with Allen, or a fair bit of both.