It’s just once every four years that Bills Training Camp and the Olympics occur simultaneously. When this happens, it becomes an all-consuming event resulting in Bills Mafia spending most of their days watching elite athletes perform at the peak of their abilities. If you’re like me, you fill the gaps between the two day-dreaming about which Bills players would participate in different events. So, for my first ever Buffalo Fanatics piece, I tackled just that. Below is a list of seven Olympic Events and the three Bills players most equipped to perform them.
If you came into the 100m thinking that “Breida the Cheetah” was going to be the runaway winner, you had good reason. Notorious for his elite speed, Matt Breida ran a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash at his Georgia Southern Pro-Day in 2017. More recently, Breida was ranked the second-fastest RB by Madden, yet he’s still not the fastest player on the Bills roster. That title belongs to the undrafted rookie out of Notre Dame, Nick McCloud, whose best 40-time (4.37) was slightly faster (-0.01) than Breida’s. Third may be equally surprising, Special Teams Ace Taiwan Jones. Jones may now be 33, but he still has some of that top-tier speed that resulted in a 4.33 40-time in 2011.
110 Meter Hurdles
There’s little debate that if you can run a 4.75s 40-yard dash and jump over a 6’5” man, then you’re the top hurdler on the Bills. After Allen, the race for Silver is a bit tighter with two of his WRs jockeying for position, Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Diggs’ proficiency as a deep threat in the NFL is due to his elite speed and ability to elevate off the turf when attacking jump balls; each skill valuable in hurdles. Davis demonstrated similar skills in his rookie year. He also stands at 6’2”, providing him with the long legs of an elite hurdler. The edge here goes to Diggs, who has significantly faster top-end speed and experience in pressure-packed environments typical of the Olympics.
Josh Allen just hurdled Anthony Barr!! This is amazing. pic.twitter.com/GPZeSMrxSn— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 23, 2018
So, you thought that this was isolated to just Buffalo Bills players? Think again. Sean McDermott’s love of wrestling is so well documented that there are details of him wrestling players during combine interviews. In his high school wrestling career, McDermott went 64-0 and was a two-time National Prep Champion. That’s Olympic-caliber dominance.
In second, and a different weight class, Harrison Phillips was a prolific wrestler during high school as well. A three-time Nebraska state champion and a Junior National Champion in 2013, Phillips was a force on the wrestling mat.
Finally, Justin Zimmer gets the bronze. While not as accomplished as McDermott and Phillips, Zimmer was an above-average wrestler in high school. Zimmer ended high school placing top-10 in state tournaments his Junior and Senior years.
Breida has already appeared once in this post, for good reason. He’s the most physically gifted athlete on the Bills. Breida has the #1 Vertical Jump (42.0), #1 Broad Jump (134), #3 40-yard (4.38), and #6 3-Cone (6.85), when compared to other Bills’ Combine measurements. His combination of explosiveness, agility, and quick-twitch makes him the clear choice to win the Olympic high jump.
In second is Siran Neal, who Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde called the “most gifted athlete” they’ve ever played with. Neal measured close to Breida in all key factors of the high jump, primarily his vertical of 40.5″.
Surprisingly, third is Tanner Gentry who is a gifted athlete in his own right. While he doesn’t quite reach the elite levels of Breida and Neal, his 38.0″ vertical earns him bronze. Couple that with his larger stature, and he edges out other high-flyers like Cole Beasley, Isaiah McKenzie, and Rachad Wildgoose.
Only 11 players since 1999 have managed more reps of 225 pounds on the bench press than Harrison Phillips. 42 reps is a massive number for any human and that’s just one example of his dominance in the weight room. That, along with his lower body explosiveness, makes him a force in either the “snatch” or “clean and jerk”. Behind him is a physical freak in Spencer Brown, who is the #1 all-time ranked Offensive Tackle by RAS. His power, strength, and size force comparisons with “The Mountain” for anyone who has had the displeasure of watching Game of Thrones.
Spencer Brown was drafted with pick 93 of round 3 in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 10 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 1 out of 1143 OT from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/CDRtrza2ra #RAS #Bills pic.twitter.com/33e2DC4PHq— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 1, 2021
At Bronze is another freak of nature in Ed Oliver, who drew comparisons to Aaron Donald coming out of college. Oliver often holds his own against double teams, even while weighing below 300 pounds. The pure strength to do that should easily allow him to put up big numbers in Olympic weightlifting.
A finesse sport requires a finesse athlete and there is no better representation of that on the Bills than Isaiah McKenzie. Known for his deadly jet sweeps, McKenzie can often be seen slicing through tight gaps as if he was trying to enter the water without a splash.
In second is Olaijah Griffin, who could bring some much-needed swagger to the diving world. Griffin’s slim stature and physical ability set him up to be one of the more dominant divers on the Bills.
Third place is newcomer Emmanuel Sanders, who looks the part of an Olympic diver and has the potent leg power (39.5″ Vertical) to drive off the platform for extended height. Sanders earns extra points for making some acrobatic jumping catches throughout his NFL career.
Can you imagine Tre White running around with a ribbon while dancing? I can. White’s dance moves have become a legend in the NFL and whether sun, rain, or snowstorm White can tear up any surface he is forced to do so on. Duke Williams may stun some at silver, but he showed off some crazy dance moves in a viral video (#82) last year that make him perfect for Olympic rhythmic gymnastics. Last is Ed Oliver, who takes the Bronze Medal position in Matt Barkley’s stead. Oliver’s patented “Stomp and Pop” with a towel in hand helped propel the Bills to beat the Steelers in 2019. Now just imagine Big Ed, ribbon in hand, “Renegade” blaring, and a packed stadium of Bills Mafia going absolutely buck wild.
There are so many events in the Olympics that it would not be feasible to cover them all but here are a few more that are worth at least mentioning (* indicates retired):
- Baseball: Jordan Poyer
- Equestrian: Ed Oliver
- Golf: Josh Allen
- Rugby: Christian Wade
- Soccer: Tyler Bass
- Softball: Micah Hyde
- Swimming: Kyle Williams*