Two Bills named to 2024 NFL 'All-Breakout' team

The Buffalo Bills have a few breakout candidates according to PFF.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Khalil Shakir (10) tries to get outside of New England Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant (27) for a short gain.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Khalil Shakir (10) tries to get outside of New England Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant (27) for a short gain. / Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and

As we approach the 2024 NFL season, we get closer to meeting the new stars of the NFL. Pro Football Focus has put together their All-Breakout team for next season, with PFF writer Gordon McGuinness including two Bills, one on each side of the ball, as potential breakout candidates. 

The analyst has named third-year wide receiver Khalil Shakir and cornerback Christian Benford to the All-Breakout team, implying that they could succeed as they ascend into more prominent roles. 

Here is what PFF has to say about Shakir: “It was how he ended the 2023 season that gives credence to his breakout potential. Over the Bills final five games, including the playoffs, he saw 24 targets and turned them into 23 receptions for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns.”

Shakir has been on the radar of plenty since the departure of Stefon Diggs and, given the fact that he's the only receiver on the team's roster who has caught a regular season pass from Josh Allen, could be one of the signal-caller's go-to targets. Shakir can play both inside as a slot receiver and lineup outside, and it’s clear that he has the trust of his quarterback. If there was a wide receiver on the Bills roster to break out this season, it should be Shakir. His stats have improved year after year, with his production taking a significant jump after Joe Brady became offensive coordinator midway through the 2023 season. 

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Moving onto what PFF said regarding Benford: “After becoming a starter in his second season as a sixth-round draft pick out of Villanova, Benford earned an 83.3 PFF coverage grade, tying for seventh among all cornerbacks last season.”

Benford has been one of the best draft steals for general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott. A sixth-round pick in the 2022 draft, Benford has already started 19 career games -- not bad for a defensive back out of a Division 1 FCS School.

Early in his tenure in Buffalo, Benford cemented himself over draft-mate Kaiir Elam and has started to become a foundational piece for the Bills defense. If Benford takes another step forward, he could be a crucial piece in a revamped Bills secondary.

McKenna Middlebrook