Brandon Beane is creating one of the best rosters in the NFL, and that can be said objectively speaking. However, the wide receiver and running back rooms could use some more depth. Adding young players to a talented roster can allow them to develop at a reasonable pace instead of being rushed into a role right away. The 2020 wide receiver and running back class are deep. This class is a great opportunity to add young talent who can be developed and contribute in the years to come.
Here are just some of the top mid-late round receivers and running backs who could bring value to the Buffalo Bills:
Michael Pittman Jr.-Wide Receiver
The University of Southern California product only had one major season in college. However, he’s had to deal with difficult target competition in his career. Amon-Ra St. Brown looks like a future NFL talent having two big seasons already. Juju Smith-Schuster took away production Pittman’s Freshman year. So in his four years, Pittman had intense NFL-caliber target competition in three of them. He never got much of a chance to shine with Sam Darnold because of the competition.
In 2019, he shined as a Senior even with St. Brown on the team. Over 100 receptions for 1300 yards and 11 touchdowns is a huge year. Running a 4.52 second 40-yard-dash at 6’4″ 220 pounds and a sub-seven second 3-Cone-Drill are extremely impressive numbers as well. Pittman showed great ball skills at the Senior Bowl and looks to be a solid player at the next level. A combination of size-adjusted speed, solid Senior Bowl, and an impressive Senior season among tough teammate competition make Pittman a perfect candidate for the Bills to draft. He would add much-needed size to the Bills receiving core.
Lynn Bowden Jr.- Wide Receiver/Quarterback/Specialist
Another “junior”, another potential playmaker at the next level. He began at Kentucky as a wide receiver doing explosive things in the Southeastern Conference. He returned 37 kicks as a Freshman showing off elite speed and special teams ability and as a Sophomore had 67 catches for 745 yards, nine rushes, and another 30 returns now with some punts.
Because of injuries on his team, Bowden was forced to play some quarterback in 2019 in his last season to help his team. He will be a receiver in the NFL, but his rushing/scrambling at the QB position showed how athletic he is. He still had 30 catches but ran wild for 1500 yards on 185 attempts.
Bowden is an electric, dynamic playmaker. Get the ball in his hands and big things happen. He could replace Isaiah Mckenzie as a gadget player who can play receiver, get rushing attempts in various ways, and be a threat in the return game. Bowden could be a swiss-army knife player.
Tyler Johnson- Wide Receiver
With no testing results yet, it is tough to tell if Johnson can be a threat in the NFL athletically. But, it is hard to ignore his stats at Minnesota in the Big-10 Conference. In 2018 he went 8-119 against Ohio State and this season went 12-204-2 against Auburn. He had several other huge games in his career having 1200 yards and 12 TD’s as a Junior and 1300-13 as a Senior.
A good pro day from Johnson could elevate his draft stock. Everything in his game and his stats shows NFL-caliber skills but the athleticism remains to be seen. He declined the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine testing which raises skepticism. Johnson truly is an enigmatic prospect but his tape shows tremendous hands, ball skills, run after catch ability, and contested catch ability. If he tests well he could be a solid NFL wide receiver.
Joshua Kelley- Running Back
Kelley very might well be one of the most underrated prospects in this class. He doesn’t pop or explode, but that’s why he isn’t going in the first few rounds. He checks nearly every box and is above average in every aspect of the game. The UCLA product is well-rounded but doesn’t necessarily flash in any one area.
In two seasons he cleared over 1000 yards and double-digit touchdowns in both of them while commanding over 200 carries in both. He has amassed almost 40 catches over his two seasons showing his versatility. At 5’11” 212 pounds with 200+ carries each year and almost 40 receptions, he has proven he can be a three-down workhorse in the NFL.
Add in a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and upper percentile agility and he forms a pretty good prospect profile. Kelley has the stats, speed, and size to be a three-down back in the NFL and could be an excellent complement to Devin Singletary or even the full-time starter if Singletary ever got hurt.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn- Running Back
Vaughn is similar to Kelley in the fact that he doesn’t jump off the page, but he gets the job done in every phase. What makes him special is that he did his work in the SEC. He possesses requisite size and speed as well at 214 pounds and a 4.51 40.
An extensive study of Vaughn shows he started at Illinois as a Freshman and went for 700 rushing yards at a young age, which is extremely impressive. He had two huge seasons at Vanderbilt when he transferred going over 1000 yards in both seasons with one of them being over 1200. As a Senior he caught 28 passes which shows off his three-down back ability as well. He has the size, stats and profile to be a solid NFL running back as well.
Darrynton Evans- Running Back
Evans is a small school back coming from Appalachian State. While he may not possess great size at only 200 pounds, he makes up for it with speed. Evans blazed with a 4.41 40 yard dash. Adding this speed to the Bills offense can give them that homerun threat on any given play. Similar to Matt Breida or Raheem Mostert, they are smaller, faster receivers who don’t command a large touch share but have large yards per carry numbers. When these types of players touch the ball, big things happen. But, their lack of size detracts their ability to handle a large workload.
He has a 1200 yard and 1500 yard season on his resume with a 20 catch season as well. Evans can split the workload down the middle with Singletary which will lead to less chance of injury with fewer touches and Singletary is only 200 pounds as well. Darrynton Evans could be a great late-round dart throw pick who could come in and be a lightning type player with 8-12 touches per game.
A.J Dillon- Running Back
This fit would be more thunder, lightning for the Bills. Dillon has an amazing resume with two 1600 yard seasons and double-digit touchdowns each season. He dominated at Boston College and rumbled all over defenders in his three seasons.
Dillon is 250 pounds and ran a 4.53. Guys that big aren’t supposed to run that fast. Dillon could be an early-down, short-yardage back who has some juice and burst to him. Bringing down a guy this big running that fast could be a tough task for defenders and having to defend him and Devin Singletary could be a struggle for opposing defenses.