The Buffalo Bills have a talented roster, one that some project as a Super Bowl contender.
Such groups of players do not leave room for much movement via position battles. Still, Pro Football Focus dug through the weeds and found one to watch during training camp in Buffalo this summer.
The Bills’ backfield could prove to be an intriguing matchup. There are three different candidates there in Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and rookie second-round pick James Cook that all bring different skill sets to the table.
How could it all unfold? PFF gave a preview:
Running back position battles aren’t what they used to be, as most of the NFL now employs some variety of committee approach to a position that used to be staffed by every-down bellcows wherever possible. On one hand, AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones are in a battle for supremacy in Green Bay’s backfield, and on the other hand, we should expect to see both featured heavily and the way that the dynamic plays out exact is largely inconsequential.
Things are a little different in Buffalo however, where the team clearly felt that Cook brought something to the table that the teams wasn’t getting from Singletary or Moss. Bills general manager Brandon Beane talked about Cooks’ run-after-the-catch skills, and Dalvin’s younger brother bears more than a passing resemblance to his Pro-Bowl brother. That resemblance gives Cook a chance to be better than his second-round pick status and take command of a greater portion of the available workload than was originally intended.
A prediction of Cook standing out in Buffalo’s running back is a bold one, but it’s not out of the question.
Most assume Singletary will end up as the team’s No. 1 rusher–and for good reason. At the end of last season, Singletary played well. Much better than Moss.
But if we’re making the case for Cook, it’s easy to see. The Bills are a pass-first team. Catching the ball is Cook’s bread-and-butter. If the rookie can pull together the other aspects of his game? It might force the coaching staff’s hand.
The more likely scenario might be the Bills easing Cook into the lineup as the season rolls on. That’s been the way Buffalo has handled their rookies over the past few years, even top selections like Cook.