On Day 2 of the NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills have an opportunity to select an all-purpose running back who could add something new to the offense.
The Buffalo Bills have an offensive backfield to build on with Devin Singletary and Josh Allen. Although Frank Gore said he has no plans to retire, the ageless wonder is a free agent and no lock to return to the team. The Bills sill have a perfect their ground game with a Day-2 draft pickup.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the lead dog for the National Champion Louisiana State University Tigers rushing attack last year. LSU’s offense was obviously headlined by Heisman winner Joe Burrow and his dynamic receivers, but Edwards-Helaire was certainly not forgotten.
His coaching staff rewarded him with 270 touches last year. Even more impressive was how efficient Edwards-Helaire was with those opportunities. Averaging 6.6 yards-per-carry, he finished the year with 1,414 rushing yards. The Baton Rouge native added 453 receiving yards on 55 catches too.
Scoring a total of 17 touchdowns, his production at LSU was undeniable. So was his shiftiness after catching passes out of the backfield, his quickness in hitting the hole, and his remarkable jump cuts. He impressed the Death Valley faithful all year, a group that knows “the goods” when they see it.
Not the fastest back in this draft class Edwards-Helaire only finished 17th among running backs at the scouting combine with a 4.6-second 40 time. That’s okay because it’s his burst that makes him so good. He’s quick in spurts, which has helped him to evade many nasty hits. That’s important because he’s far from the ideal size for an NFL running back.
At 5-8, 209-pounds, Edwards-Helaire is undersized, and most likely not a feature back. That will work for the Buffalo Bills, though. Last year’s running back draft investment, Devin Singletary, isn’t an every-down back, either. To tell the truth, not many backs in this draft are. Then again, the NFL is not a bell-cow back league anymore.
There are only about ten every-down backs left. Look at the teams that were in the Super Bowl last year. Both Kansas City and San Francisco used a backfield-by-committee and were successful with it.
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Singletary did a good job last year running the football, and we all know Allen has good rushing ability himself. Adding one more complimentary back to the mix who’s very fundamentally sound would make for a formidable three-headed monster.
Edwards-Helaire’s pass blocking prospects don’t look very exciting, but there’s certainly a package that Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll can draw up to best use the back’s abilities. He makes for a great option that Allen can take advantage of in the passing game, due to his impressive hands, and route-running ability. A patient runner, he’s a smart back that noticeably reads a defense quickly when he’s handed the ball.
LSU’s No.15 all-time rusher (he had to pay his dues behind Derrius Guice and Nick Brosette) is today’s kind of NFL running back. The Buffalo Bills can snag him up late in Day 2because he’ll likely be gone by Day 3.