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Nate’s Notebook: Where is David Sills?

When the Buffalo Bills signed UDFA wide receiver David Sills from West Virginia, the move was widely lauded as one of the steals of the draft. A guy who was a multi-year superstar WR in a Power 5 conference and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to college football’s best receiver? Yes, please. A player who was once regarded as the “LeBron James of college football” when Lane Kiffin offered him a scholarship (as a QB) when Sills was a 13-year-old middle schooler? Absolutely. So where has David Sills been through two preseason games? Two games. Two targets. Zero catches.



The Bills passing attack in 2018 was anemic. Buffalo ranked 31st in passing yards and dead last in touchdowns, passer rating, and completion percentage. Surely a receiver of Sills’ caliber, a 6’3″ jump ball maven with a 37 inch vertical would be a welcome addition to a passing game in serious need of a shot in the arm, right?

Well, it hasn’t worked out that way thus far and it is one of the more surprising preseason developments in Buffalo. Not surprising that Sills seems like a longshot to make the roster; UDFAs are rarely good bets to make the team. But that a guy with Sills’ ability has been largely ignored, that is surprising.

I want to target that guy with some fades in the preseason. Let’s at least see what he can do.

It’s hard to envision Sills making the Bills final 53-man roster. Despite the struggles from last season, the WR group is pretty deep with four near-locks to make the roster. Zay Jones, Cole Beasley and John Brown aren’t going anywhere. Andre Roberts is a Pro Bowl kick returner and is likely to stick as well. Robert Foster had a breakout season in 2018 and despite some preseason struggles this year, seems like a decent bet to make the team.

That leaves one spot for Sills, Duke Williams, Ray Ray McCloud, and Isaiah McKenzie. Williams has shown some potential and could be the big bodied, red zone target the Bills need. As for Sills, there is still hope. Rookie wide receivers aren’t usually productive in their first season. Late round picks and UDFAs rarely produce quality receiving numbers right out of the gate.

Also, he’s also only been a receiver for a couple years after entering college as a highly rated quarterback. Hopefully, Buffalo is able to keep Sills on the practice squad this season while he gains strength, improves his technique, and continues to learn the nuances of the position.

If not, let’s just call it “The Curse of Lane Kiffin”.