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Will Bills Playoff Star Gabriel Davis Win No. 2 WR Job?

As perhaps the hottest postseason receiver in recent memory, Bills' third-year receiver Gabriel Davis looks to be the next big name in Buffalo.

The sky is the limit for Gabriel Davis entering Year 3 with the Buffalo Bills. Will the production surpass the lofty expectations

Davis, 23, is coming off two quality seasons in Orchard Park. In both years, he's totaled 35 catches off at least 62 targets. As a rookie, he finished with 599 yards and seven touchdowns. A year later, he posted a still serviceable 549 yards and six scores. 

Buffalo is high on the former fourth-round receiver. Since arriving from Central Florida, he's been a consistent weapon for Josh Allen as a more vertical option and a complement to Pro Bowler Stefon Diggs. General manager Brandon Beane has enough trust on his upside that minimal moves were made at the perimeter receiver spot. 

Yes, the Bills signed Jamison Crowder from the New York Jets and drafted Boise State's Khalil Shakir with a fifth-round pick. Both players are expected to fight for reps that belonged to Cole Beasley in the slot. The same could be said for Tavon Austin, who likely sees most of his reps come on special teams. 

What makes Davis different than Diggs is the size element. Diggs, who has posted back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons in Buffalo since arriving in 2020, stands just at 6-foot. Davis, known for his ability to win in the red zone in college, is a hair under 6-3. 

"He’s been working hard," Beane said of Davis earlier this offseason. "He’s been here, I think, every day (in the spring). If he missed a day, I wasn’t here that day, either. But nothing seems too big for Gabe every time you give him more. And so we’re excited about where he’s at.”

Toward season's end, Davis actually became Allen's go-to target. He finished with a team-high 10 catches for 242 yards and five touchdowns — four of which came in AFC Divisional Round loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Meanwhile, Diggs finished with only six catches for 67 yards during the same span. 

Not much will change with Davis' role in the offense. Despite the departure of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to the New York Giants, Bills coach Sean McDermott elected to internally promote quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey to the position. 

Davis said that Dorsey is looking for more an approach in downfield passing and hopes to "create big plays" in terms of play design. 

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"They're pretty similar in a lot of ways," Davis said of Dorsey and his comparison to Daboll. "They have their own little things about them that are different, but they're both great offensive minds."   

The Bills could elect to make Davis more of their vertical option in 2022. Since both Davis and Diggs joined the team, the former has been more of a possessional receiver, recording over 100 catches per season. 

The latter, meanwhile has averaged 16.4 yards per catch — 4.4 yards more Diggs' 12.0 yards per catch. Of Davis' 18 total touchdowns, seven have come on throws of 20 yards or more. Two more came on throws just under the 20-yard marker at 19, meaning nearly 50 percent of his touchdowns have come on throws that would be considered "big plays." 

“The dude just works,” Allen said. “He just works hard. He’s a great dude. Selfless. He’ll run the for the love of the game routes where he knows he’s not getting the ball, but he’s attracting a safety and allowing someone else to get open.

"The dude just continues to make some plays and I love the guy to death.”

Davis will be a full-time starter beginning this season. With the way receivers are getting paid, Beane might have to set aside money come 2023 to offer him an extension before entering the final year of his rookie deal. 

Diggs is still the top option. Davis understands that. He also understands that the NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" league and last season must be left in the pass. 

This training camp, Davis looking to limit the rookie mistakes while helping the younger prospects adapt to life in the pros. Of course, he's still coming into his own despite the immense expectations entering Week 1. 

Said Davis: "I’m a young receiver and I’m glad I got a guy like Jameson here now, Stefon Diggs, even Isaiah McKenzie, guys that have been league for a while to be able to learn from and still gain a lot of knowledge and become a better receiver.”