Bills' revamped WR room ranked as one of NFL's worst

PFF has ranked the Buffalo Bills' receiving corps as one of the worst in the NFL.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Khalil Shakir (10) is hoisted onto the shoulders of teammates after his 17 yard touchdown catch and run.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Khalil Shakir (10) is hoisted onto the shoulders of teammates after his 17 yard touchdown catch and run. / Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and

The Buffalo Bills made a concerted effort to refresh their roster in the 2024 offseason, with perhaps no position group more heavily impacted than the receiving corps. The team parted ways with Gabriel Davis and perennial Pro Bowler Stefon Diggs, replacing these players with free agent signee Curtis Samuel, rookie Keon Coleman, and what amount to several throws at the dartboard.

The spring cleaning of the receiving corps leaves Buffalo with a talented, but inexperienced group that has a high ceiling, but we won’t truly know the unit’s strength until meaningful snaps are played. Third-year contributor Khalil Shakir is its most tenured member and figures to ascend into a more meaningful role given his late-season breakout in 2023—he may be the receiver room’s ‘safest bet.’ Samuel is a speedy weapon who is reuniting with the offensive coordinator who four years ago led him to the best production of his career, but he’s only usurped 1,000 scrimmage yards once as a professional. Coleman is a trait-sy 6-foot-3 pass-catcher who could one day be an alpha boundary receiver, but he’s, at this juncture, generally a bit raw. The team’s options down the depth chart include Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mack Hollins, and Chase Claypool alongside a bevy of other question marks who offer little in the way of demonstrated production.

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There are reasons for optimism, but it’s difficult to definitively say that the unit will be successful in the 2024 season, even with the aerial attack being manned by an otherwordly signal-caller in Josh Allen. This sentiment has been reflected in Pro Football Focus writer Trevor Sikkema’s recent article in which he ranks every receiving corps in the NFL; Buffalo comes in at 27th on the list, indicating that it has the sixth-worst wide receiver room in the league.

“The Bills' losses of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis (much more Diggs than Davis) make it difficult to place them any higher on this list,” Sikkema wrote. “Keon Coleman, Khalil Shakir and Curtis Samuel could be a nice trio in the long-term, but that's outside of our scope here.

“Buffalo's tight end room does give the receiving corps a boost, headlined by Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox. Running back James Cook didn’t grade well as a receiver last season (54.3 grade), but he does have good ability in that area.”

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It’s difficult to take too much issue with placement given the aforementioned turnover and question marks. It’s fair to have optimism and confidence given the presence of Allen and what we’ve seen in past seasons from players like Shakir and Samuel, but this ranking isn’t based on hypotheticals. It’s based on past production, something that Buffalo’s revamped receiving corps—headlined by a third-year player with 49 career receptions, a 27-year-old who has never topped 1,000 receiving yards, and a rookie—doesn’t have a ton of.

That said, it would not be at all surprising to see the unit dramatically outplay this ranking come the regular season given its talent and potential. Buffalo, as Sikkema notes, also plans to generate aerial production with its tight ends and running backs; Dalton Kincaid flashed down the stretch of his rookie season, with many projecting him to lead the team in receptions in his sophomore campaign. If new full-time play-caller Joe Brady’s past offenses are any indication, James Cook (and even rookie Ray Davis) could see consistent pass-catching opportunities out of the backfield.

Despite the turnover and inexperience of the receiving corps, there’s no need for panic regarding Buffalo’s collection of pass-catchers.

Kyle Silagyi