The Buffalo Bills have lost one of their most trusted players this season with the departure of Cole Beasley, but some insiders believe the free agent to replace him could be ready to apparate.
The Bills allowed Beasley to go live in March after it failed to find a partner to fulfill its trading request, leaving a huge hole in the passing game. The 10-year veteran made 231 catches from 2,438 yards and 11 touchdowns during his three seasons at Buffalo, making Josh Allen a reliable third kill target.
The Bills signed former New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder after Beasley was released, and he is expected to earn a significant portion of placement goals. Although the team has yet to play in real combat situations, Crowder has made a strong impression from the start.
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ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg has identified Crowder as Buffalo’s biggest standout through OTAs and minicamps, noting that he’s shaping up to be the player the Bills hope he can become. Crowder has proven to be an effective slot collector throughout his career, catching at least 50 passes in six of his seven seasons in the league – and all despite a poor passing attack. color with Jets.
“While Isaiah McKenzie had the pace to show up early in the battle to take on Cole Beasley’s role, Crowder looked solid during his break in his first season with the Bills,” Getzenberg wrote. “After ending his stint with the Jets through injury (despite 833 admissions in his first season with the team in 2019), Crowder may have found a good fit with Buffalo. The rivalry between McKenzie and Crowder for playtime at the slot receiver will be one to watch in training camp. “
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso also rates Crowder as one of this year’s top breakout contenders among free agents. He noted that Allen has a knack for finding open receivers underneath, with Beasley killing more than 100 targets in all three of his seasons at Buffalo, and Crowder could move into that role.
“That new bottom pick is now Crowder, and everything about him signing to Buffalo has a Beasley legit feel,” Trapasso wrote.
Fierce Competition in Slot
As Getzenberg noted, there could be a lot of competition for placement targets next season. Although he is primarily used as a kickback and pitcher and jet sweeper for the Bills, McKenzie is the one with the most experience in offenses and versatile picks. his position while Beasley was on the COVID-19 roster at the end of last season. In the crucial Week 16 game against the New England Patriots when Beasley was eliminated, McKenzie caught 11 125-yard passes and a touchdown.
The Bills could also have a wild card in rookie Khalil Shakir, who is seen as an all-around threat. ESPN drafts analyst Matt Miller called Shakir a steal in the fifth inning and noted his game was similar to the San Francisco 49ers’ receiver Deebo Samuel.
“The bills received by Khalil Shakir in Round 5 are a steal in my book,” Miller tweeted. “The Deebo computer has been overused, but Shakir can be used in a similar way – albeit a poor man’s version of Samuel’s full-blown game. Put him on a creative attack and he can be a weapon. “
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