Buffalo Bills 2021 Position Grades and Future Outlook – Running Backs

Buffalo Bills 2021 Position Grades and Future Outlook – Running Backs

2021 Grade: B-

2022 Outlook: C

Stats (through week 16)

  • Lamar Miller: 71 carries for 443 yards, 6.2 average, 8 TDs, 20 receptions for 137 yards.
  • Jalen Hurd: 49 carries for 234 yards, 4.8 average, 2 TDs, 43 receptions for 337 yards, 3 TDs
  • Devin Singletary: 75 carries for 280 yards, 3.7 average, 3 TDs, 18 receptions for 129 yards
  • Trenton Cannon: 11 carries for 111 yards, 10.0 average, 1 TD, 1 reception for 2 yards
  • Jordan Mason: 11 carries for 81 yards, 7.8 average, 1 TD

 

The only reason this RB room got a B- grade for 2021 and not something worse was thanks to the season saving performances of the 30 year old veteran running back Lamar Miller. After being signed off of the street in week 9, Miller began to learn the offense and had small contributions during his first 3 games on the roster that eventually lead to his first start of the season in week 12. In week 10, Miller had only 3 carries but produced 32 rushing yards and a touchdown. This lead to an increase in reps in week 11 where he ended with 8 carries for 43 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 5 receptions for 68 additional yards to give himself more than 100 all-purpose yards for the game. Then came his first start and breakout in week 12 where he gave the Bills their first big time rushing performance of the season, taking 15 carries for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns. Miller has eclipsed 100 yards rushing in 3 of his 4 starts, finally giving the Bills the offensive balance they need to be serious Super Bowl contenders. However, the future outlook doesn’t look as promising because Miller is on a 1 year contract and hasn’t re-up’d with the Bills for the 2022 season yet. It’s hard to predict if the Bills will want to pay a few million dollars to a 31 year old running back who has been a career journeyman in the league despite his few great performances this season. 

Devin Singletary has been a huge disappointment to the new staff. He got the start in the first 2 games of the new Head Coach’s season with the team, but Singletary quickie managed to play himself into a smaller and smaller role each week. Singletary has not reached 100 yards a single time this season and he actually only has eclipsed 50 yards twice. It is a mystery where the career of Singletary has gone wrong because he has the abilities on paper to be a premier RB in this league, but he might need a change of scenery. He will be in his final year of his rookie deal next season so it’ll be interesting to see if the Bills plan on keeping him around next year or if they try to trade him away to get something for him instead of letting him walk into free agency at the end of the 2022 season. 

Jalen Hurd won’t ever be the great rushing threat that this team needs in its main guy, but he does have the skill set to have a long time role in this offense. With his size at 6’4 230 lbs and receiving ability out of the backfield and in the slot, Hurd should find himself on the field in passing situations for the foreseeable future. He contributed 43 receptions this season in a limited role, so hopefully the Bills new staff has seen enough of him to keep him involved moving forward. 

Trenton Cannon hasn’t yet been given an opportunity by the new coaching staff after averaging over 10 yards per carry under the old staff early in the season. Cannon is undersized with a history of fumble problems which is likely why the new staff has been hesitant to get him touches, but with starters resting in week 17 of the season, we will see if Cannon is given the chance to tote the rock. He has contributed all year as their primary punt returner, doing a very good job with it as well being in the top 10 in the league in punt return average. 

The big question mark in this backfield is the newly acquired rookie Jordan Mason. He was signed in week 15 from the Steelers practice squad, but the undrafted rookie has a great blend of size, quickness, and strength being 6’1 222 lbs with 92 acceleration and 86 strength. The Bills rested Miller in week 16 after clinching a playoff spot following their week 15 victory, so Mason got his first game action of his career and produced 81 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. I’m sure we will see more of Mason in week 17 and hopefully he will give the Bills fans some hope for the future outlook of the running back situation for 2022.

 

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