The Buffalo Bill’s have gone into each season since 2010 with the same starting backfield that included either C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. With Rex Ryan coming in and expecting to implement a run-first offensive scheme, that backfield may look entirely different once the 2015 NFL season commences.
Let’s start with Spiller. Since being drafted in the first round out of Clemson in the 2010 NFL draft, Spiller has produced at a high level but in small doses. He has yet to start all 16 games in a season either due to injuries or because of Jackson. With his past history of injuries and his desire to join the New York Jets, it’s unlikely that Ryan will decide to offer him a contract to return to Buffalo.
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How about Jackson? The former division-two player from Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA) has been on the Bills’ roster since 2006, playing in at least one game since 2007. But like Spiller, Jackson has been prone to nagging injuries throughout his career and will be turning 34 on Feb. 20. Now Jackson received a contract extension last August but could be a casualty of the chopping block.
So what does Ryan do if Spiller and Jackson are gone? He could turn to Bryce Brown or Anthony Dixon to carry the load but that’s unlikely. Or he could pursue free agent running backs such as Mark Ingram and Knowshon Moreno but, like Spiller and Jackson, are both injury prone and not reliable.
If Ryan, along with newly-hired Greg Roman, wants to start fresh, they’ll turn to the NFL draft to choose their running back for the future.
Insert Tevin Coleman.
Coleman is a name many may not have heard yet but that’s explainable; playing in the same conference as Melvin Gordon and Ameer Abdullah and starting at running back for a poor Indiana University football program, it’s hard to earn respect no matter how you’re producing. But production is all Coleman had for the Hoosier football team.
“He is arguably the best three-down back in this draft class not named Todd Gurley because of his ability in pass protection and catching the ball. – Dane Brugler”
Standing at 6-1 and weighing in at 210 pounds, Coleman ran all over B1G defenses to the tune of 2,036 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2014, second in the nation only to before-mentioned Gordon. His most impressive game came against the National Champion Ohio State Buckeye’s defense. In that contest, and just a week after a 32 carry, 307 yard game against Rutgers, Coleman ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns on just 27 carries.
If those stats against a championship-caliber defense don’t excite you enough then this stat will: for every touchdown that Coleman scored on the ground, they went for an average of 40.3 yards.
Remember, the Bill’s traded away their 2015 first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns to move up and select Sammy Watkins so for Ryan, Roman and general manager Doug Whaley to have the opportunity to draft Coleman, he’ll have to fall into the middle of the second round.