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Who is your main DARK HORSE this season for the BILLS?


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I apologize if this thread has been done before. I wanted to make one for myself that I can look back on at the end of the season to see who the more accurate guesses were.

 

It's pretty self-explanatory, but every year on almost every NFL team, a guy you'd least expect comes out of nowhere to have a good to great season. Who is your favorite candidate to have a breakout year? People's definition of a "dark horse" may vary. Just use your best judgement. A good example would be...

 

Gabe Davis. 4th rounder rookie puts up 600 yards & 7 TD's as well as some very clutch catches in the playoffs. Not earth-shattering stats, but very impressive nonetheless given his draft status and Diggs/Beasley taking away targets. Pre-Diggs I think he could've had a 1K+ yard season.

 

Who is/are your dark horse breakout candidate(s) for this coming season and why? 🧐

 

My favorite dark horse for this coming season is Jacob Hollister. 

 

Advantages going into camp:

 

1) One of Allen's favorite targets at Wyoming. Competition could heat up fast if they can pick up where they left off.

 

2) Overall competition is pretty weak. What else can I say? Our starting TE last season had 288 yards +3 TD's. Dawson Knox is his biggest competitor.

 

3) Pretty fluid route running and moves well for a big guy. When I watch the little bit of NFL tape, I see a guy who has deceptive speed and prototypical size. 

4) My opinion is that he was underutilized w/ Seattle. If he can win a starting spot, the Bills will use him more often. I'm hoping he can become a decent red zone threat as well.

 

5) Youth. At age 27, he still has time on his side. Not an old dog so he can still learn new tricks. 

 

Disadvantages going into camp: 

 

1) Hollister is not good in the run game. From what I've read & seen, he's a terrible in-line blocker and this could cost him playing time in certain packages 

 

2) Buffalo will be his 3rd team in 5 years. I'm not sure what went wrong w/ the Patriots and Seahawks or why he was let go. It doesn't look great, but maybe a change of scenery w/ a familiar face is what he needs.

 

3) Numbers. His best season in the NFL was 349 yards + 3 TD's (still better than Knox.) I think w/ Allen throwing to him, he won't have a problem topping those #'s

 

Honorable mentions: AJ Epenesa,Zack Moss. 

 

✌️❤️🏈

 

 

 

 

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I'm going Levi Wallace. I believe this year the front 7 will be a huge difference maker, allowing the secondary to ball out and cause more turnovers. With Jackson and some of these young guys pushing for a starting spot, I believe that will be enough motivation to keep the spot lockdown.

 

Honorable: Rousseau - He is going to surprise a lot of people that normally doesn't follow Buffalo.

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I’m on board with Hollister.  While I like knox and think he has a greater upside, I think Hollisters quickness will allow him to get open at a greater rate, hence be the better target.  Being Josh’s college bro can only help his situation 

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Harrison Philips - over a year removed from injury he gets back to what he was showing in his brief season before the ACL tear.  By season end, he takes the lion's share of snaps away from  Star Lottaukelelei.

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9 minutes ago, Clyde Smith said:

I'm going Levi Wallace. I believe this year the front 7 will be a huge difference maker, allowing the secondary to ball out and cause more turnovers. With Jackson and some of these young guys pushing for a starting spot, I believe that will be enough motivation to keep the spot lockdown.

 

Honorable: Rousseau - He is going to surprise a lot of people that normally doesn't follow Buffalo.

 

I could get down w/ this. 💯 Levi had a very timely interception from Big Ben that pretty much sealed the win against the Steelers. He had a nice one on Goff during the Rams game as well. Truly underrated player and good choice. 

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I was going to say Hollister too. He's apparently looked good in OTAs and I think Allen will trust him more than Knox. I guess I don't see anything Knox provides that he doesn't. The only caveat is if we do actually trade for Ertz, Hollister will be a backup at best.

 

If we do trade for Ertz I'll change my answer to Star. Mostly because the board as a whole is really down on him and I think he's going to be a big reason the defense gets back to it's 2019 level of play.

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7 minutes ago, Kwai San said:

I am firmly in the AJE camp.....my hope is he takes a HUGE leap with the proper conditioning and training camp under his belt.....

 

Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports just posted an article where he agrees with you:

 

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/under-the-radar-players-who-could-be-2021-stars-for-each-afc-team-marquise-brown-among-potential-breakouts/

 

Under-the-radar players who could be 2021 stars for each AFC team: Marquise Brown among potential breakouts

Don't sleep on these AFC players heading into the 2021 season

 

Bills: A.J. Epenesa, DE 

 

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"A.J. Epenesa was arguably a first-round talent coming out of Iowa in 2020, but Buffalo was able to scoop him up in the second round. He appeared in 14 contests for the Bills during his rookie season, but played sparingly (27% of the defensive snaps). When given more of an opportunity in the later part of the season, however, Epenesa didn't disappoint. His lone start of the season came in Week 17, when he totaled a season-high three tackles for a loss along with a quarterback hit. The rookie also was a noticeable presence during the AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs. As he heads into his second season, coach Sean McDermott will likely give Epenesa even more opportunity to grow within this defense. As Buffalo looks to contend in the AFC in 2021, Epenesa could prove to be a key piece along that unit to compliment Josh Allen on the other side of the ball. "

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AJE.  

 

What I found interesting is I believe Frazier said the ideal weight for AJE was 255-260.  So it sounds like to me he actually played even lighter than that last year.

With Dawkins saying he's not a feather anymore, AJE is at the right weight and has the strength back to make an impact.

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Rousseau is mine for the fact that everyone thinks he’s going to need time to develop. He was a guy I thought was going to go top-10, then he opted out. So he’s behind the 8-ball a bit but his size and relative athleticism is extremely intriguing and I think he can be an impact guy from week 1.

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12 minutes ago, Royale with Cheese said:

With Dawkins saying he's not a feather anymore, AJE is at the right weight and has the strength back to make an impact.

 

 

Dawkins knows all about not being a feather anymore.

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Dane Jackson

He looked good in limited action last season and I think he has a legitimate chance to win the #2 spot with a solid preseason.

 

Harrison Phillips

He didn't look 100% last year after coming back from an ACL tear, but he improved as the year went on. I think he can split reps with Star and solidify our run defense.

 

Isaiah McKenzie

He has mainly been a gadget player for the Bills, but his performance against the Dolphins shows that he can contribute as a receiver. Unfortunately he got injured shortly after and was limited throughout the playoffs. He will battle rookie Marquez Stevenson and Isaiah Hodgins for a roster spot this summer, but I believe his familiarity with the offense will give him a major advantage and he will have a career year.

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12 minutes ago, Dkollidas said:

Rousseau is mine for the fact that everyone thinks he’s going to need time to develop. He was a guy I thought was going to go top-10, then he opted out. So he’s behind the 8-ball a bit but his size and relative athleticism is extremely intriguing and I think he can be an impact guy from week 1.

Definitely with a mystery year if off field development I think he could be further along than people think.

 

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