In 2019, the Buffalo Bills secured some improved WR talent for their up-and-coming quarterback. Though the team was accused of spending big money on bargain-bin players, Cole Beasley became a diamond in the rough for a struggling Buffalo Bills offense and second-year starter Josh Allen. Though he may be gone now, the team may have found another diamond in Jamison Crowder.
“We are doing big things over here in Buffalo. The Pegulas have it right.”– Cole Beasley on Joining The Bills, 2019
Players no longer need to convince people that joining the Buffalo Bills is a good idea, but Beasley put his money were his mouth was. His absence, and on-field connection with Josh Allen, may be missed. Can Jamison Crowder fill the void our former Slot WR leaves behind? Let’s take a look at their time prior to the Bills, to see what we’re getting our hands on.
Career Comparison: Pre-Buffalo
Jamison Crowder and Cole Beasley both played seven seasons each before joining the Buffalo Bills. Both players spurned offers from their former teams and outside competition to join this roster. Here’s a comparison of their career’s prior to stepping on the field in blue.
|Career Stats||Age||Rec. Yds||TDs||Rec.||Catch %||Yds/Catch||Yds/Game|
|Jamison Crowder (Wash/NYJ)||28||4607||28||409||66.9||11.3||48.0|
|Cole Beasley (Dal)||29||3271||23||319||70.9||10.3||31.8|
These two players may not be cut from the exact same cloth, but their production is comparable. Though used in a variety of ways over the course of their seven years pre-Buffalo, both players were missing elite QB play for almost their entire careers. Catching lobs from Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, Beasley had a better cast than his replacement. Jamison Crowder primarily caught passes from Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, Sam Darnold, and Zach Wilson, with a variety of spot-starters mixed in.
Jamison Crowder: Cole Beasley 2.0
Crowder is a smaller receiver, much like Beasley, limited to playing the slot despite a wide range of skills. He’s extremely versatile, with a wide catch radius and great hands. Arguably, he’s more athletic than his predecessor, and has a little less tread on his tires. Longevity is critical to this team’s playoff success, and getting younger at this position is an important part of that.
Crowder can run every route in the tree. It may be a cliché that you hear often, but it’s true. A notable part of his game that can often be overlooked, due to the ineffective QB play he’s been working with, is his inability to give up on plays. One of the best things about Cole Beasley during his tenure in Buffalo was his improvisation with Josh Allen when the play broke down. By securing Crowder for the 2022 season, we may not be losing that feature after all. Every play, he fights to get open and make room downfield to the whistle, no matter how desperate the situation may be.
Brief Stat Projection
Cole Beasley came to the Buffalo Bills and saw a boom in his numbers immediately, putting up the best two seasons of his career. Could we see a similar bump from Jamison Crowder? Here are their stats on a per-season basis prior to joining the Bills.
|Per Season Stats||Rec. Yds||TDs||Rec.|
|Jamison Crowder (Wash/NYJ)||658||4||58.4|
|Cole Beasley (Dal)||467||3.3||45.6|
Now here’s Cole Beasley’s stats based on his first season in Buffalo, in comparison to his career before that. In the bottom row, note the growth rates of his stat lines.
|A: Cole Beasley (Dal 2012 – 2018)||467||3.3||45.6|
|B: Cole Beasley (Buf 2019)||778||6||67|
|Growth Rate From A to B||x1.666||x1.818||x1.469|
We could examine later seasons for further projection, but Crowder is currently on a one-year deal, and looking past the immediate impact would be purposeless at this time. Though we may be unsure of his snap counts, targets, and more, Crowder will be taking on a lot of what Cole Beasley brought to this offense. Were he to manage the identical improvement in play, what would his 2022 season look like?
|Per Season Stats||Rec. Yds||TDs||Rec.|
|Jamison Crowder (Career)||658||4||58.4|
|Jamison Crowder (2022 Projection)||1096||7.3||85.8|
Accurately projecting stats is a fools’ errand, but by looking at these numbers we may gain a clearer understanding of exactly what kind of player we received in Jamison Crowder.
That stat line may be unattainable for Crowder, considering this WR room is significantly more crowded than it was back in 2019. He joins his fellow 2015 WR classmate, Stefon Diggs, and many more talented weapons for Josh Allen. However, one thing can be said for certain: The touches we get from Jamison Crowder will be high quality, and there’s a real possibility of a boom season if he earns the snaps and targets to produce it.
This receiver group is tough to get into, but with the snaps of both Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders vacated, Crowder has a shot. It’s a good shot. The main issue is the emergence of Gabe Davis, and the selection of Khalil Shakir in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft. Crowder isn’t a lock to secure those snaps and he isn’t short on competition.