Big things are expected from Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis in 2022. Entering his third season in the NFL, Davis is set to take over the No. 2 receiver role in the Bills’ prolific passing offense behind Stefon Diggs.
The last time we saw Davis on the field was in Buffalo’s divisional round playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. While the main storylines from that contest were how the Bills poorly managed the final 13 seconds of regulation and Josh Allen not getting a chance with the football in overtime, Davis had a historic night. Setting a new NFL playoff record with four receiving touchdowns, Davis became just the ninth player in league history to surpass 200 receiving yards in a playoff game.
Davis’ rookie and second seasons in the NFL were nearly identical.
- 2020: 35 receptions, 599 yards, seven touchdowns
- 2021: 35 receptions, 549 yards, six touchdowns
Last season, Davis was fifth on the team in targets but the departures of Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders this offseason vacated 184 targets from one year ago. Davis figures to claim a significant portion of them.
There’s no doubt that Davis has benefitted in the past from being lower on the pecking order when it comes to opportunities, especially because of his unique skill set relative to the rest of the Bills’ options. While opposing defenses have focused on other weapons, Davis presents a size and ball skills dynamic that was perfect for being the fourth wide receiver and serving as one of Allen’s favorite targets to look for down the field when he got outside the pocket.
The biggest question with Davis stepping into a more expanded role in 2022 was how he would fare with more on his plate and how he evolves with Allen. If Wednesday’s practice was any indication, the Allen to Davis connection is set to explode.
Buffalo practiced on Wednesday without Diggs, who was given a veteran rest day. With Diggs not in the lineup, it put Davis front and center as Allen’s No. 1 target and the two flourished like they have all offseason.
The chemistry between Allen and Davis is apparent and especially noticeable with how frequently Allen made anticipatory throws to Davis in 11-on-11 reps. As expected, Buffalo’s defense played a significant amount of zone coverage and Allen and Davis were routinely on the same page with Allen slotting several throws between zones to hit Davis down the field for significant gains.
The amount of rhythm throws where Allen found Davis also stood out. It wasn’t just Allen connecting with Davis on scramble drills and trusting his size and ball skills to win down the field, their chemistry was also shined with on-schedule throws.
Buffalo has featured a top-nine passing offense in each of the past two seasons (No. 3 in 2020) but the unit will look different in 2022. This offseason brought changes for the Bills at offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, and with lineup changes at RB2, LG, RG, WR2, slot receiver, and several depth pieces throughout the unit. With newness around Allen, he will likely lean on the familiar faces around him which now includes Davis, who is primed to claim at least 100 targets in 2022.
There is plenty of hype regarding the potential for Gabriel Davis this season and I’m here to tell you to believe it.
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