Taking a closer look at the Buffalo Bills’ RB and FB positions

Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) picks up a first down during the first quarter in a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) picks up a first down during the first quarter in a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buffalo Bills entered the off-season with their starting running back in place in LeSean McCoy.

The Buffalo Bills also thought that Mike Gillislee would return as the backup running back. That was until the Patriots came in and swooped him away.

As for the fullbacks, they signed two this offseason, which came as a surprise. To many, the fullback is a dying breed. For Sean McDermott and company, they went and signed arguably the best blocking fullback in Patrick DiMarco. In addition, they signed a running back/fullback hybrid in Mike Tolbert.

The big question mark for the running back position is who the backup will be. For the fullbacks, it is how many snaps they will get and how much of an impact they will make.

Running Backs

  • LeSean McCoy
  • Jonathan Williams
  • Joe Banyard

*Cedric O’Neal is also on the roster, but figures to be a camp body*

LeSean McCoy

McCoy will once again be heading into camp as the starting running back and will be ready to have a big workload. There is no question the Bills are a ground and pound team, which they invested more in with the selection of Dion Dawkins — and signing Mike Tolbert/Patrick DiMarco — to come in and block.

The only question mark is McCoy’s health, which hasn’t really been a factor in Buffalo yet. However, McCoy is 28 years old and has had a big workload throughout his career.

LeSean McCoy’s Role: Starting Running Back

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Jonathan Williams

Williams was a 5th round pick for the Buffalo Bills in 2016 and didn’t show much in his rookie season. Part of the reason was that Williams was behind McCoy and Gillislee on the depth chart. Last season, Williams had 94 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown.

Now, Williams will head into training camp in a battle with Joe Banyard for the backup job. If he loses, Williams will once again go back to being the 3rd string running back.

A real concern is what happens if McCoy gets hurt. Unlike in recent years, the Bills backups are not the best.

Jonathan Williams’ Role: Backup Running Back

Joe Banyard

Banyard signed with the Bills after two seasons in Minnesota and the previous two in Jacksonville. Banyard entered the league in 2012 as an undrafted free agent and hasn’t seen the field all that much.

In his career, he has only ran for 95 yards. Banyard can catch some passes too, totaling 10 receptions for 73 yards in his career.

Banyard hasn’t done much in his career, but this may be his best/only shot to show teams he is a NFL running back. At age 28, it is now or never for Banyard to make an impact.

Joe Banyard’s Role: 3rd string running back/Special Teamer

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The Buffalo Bills currently have two fullbacks on the roster in Patrick DiMarco and Mike Tolbert. Both were signed this past off-season.

Patrick DiMarco

DiMarco signed a 4-year deal with the Bills this off-season. He is also considered one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL and is a big plus for a ground and pound team. DiMarco can also be another receiver. Throughout his career, he often caught shovel passes to get a few yards.

In his career, DiMarco has 37 receptions for 273 yards.

The role for DiMarco is unique as he may start some games as the fullback. But he may also see a limited amount of snaps with Mike Tolbert in the fold.

Patrick DiMarco’s Role: Starting Fullback/Special Teamer

Mike Tolbert

Tolbert was an interesting signing for the Bills, as just a day later DiMarco signed also. So, the Bills knew they were close on both and signed both.

Tolbert is a leader and McDermott spoke highly of him. In his five seasons in Carolina, Tolbert was a three-time pro bowler.

Tolbert brings solid blocking, but not as good as DiMarco. Tolbert’s main contributions will likely come in short yardage situations and the goal-line, which is something the Bills are currently lacking.

Mike Tolbert’s Role: Backup Fullback/Short Yardage Running Back

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What do you think of the Buffalo Bills‘ depth chart right now, as far as running backs and fullbacks are concerned? Leave your thoughts below!