After two promising seasons, this year could be the one that Gabriel Davis finally breaks out for the Buffalo Bills
This season looks like it has a good chance of being special for the Buffalo Bills as they are entering the year as one of the top teams in the league. The offense is a major reason for that and this season Gabriel Davis should be a big part of that.
The third-year wide receiver looks to be entering the season as the starter for the first time in his career. This is why many, including myself, are picking Gabriel Davis as a player who looks like he is about to break out in 2022.
PFF picks Gabriel Davis as one of six AFC breakout candidates
Pro Football Focus recently put together a list of six players in the AFC that can break out this season and Gabriel Davis was joined by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wide receiver Treylon Burks, safety Kyle Hamilton, cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., and pass rusher Kwity Paye.
PFF mentions a big reason for why Davis hasn’t broken out yet and it doesn’t have anything to do with talent but more about the opportunity:
Davis has always thrived as a deep threat: His 500 receiving yards from deep passes is a top-30 mark among NFL wideouts over the last two seasons, and he ranked fifth in the nation in deep yards in his final season in college (620). What he hasn’t been able to control throughout his young career has been the target distribution. His 74 targets were a career-high this past year, but it still trailed the top three pass-catchers on the 2021 Bills roster.
Last year, Davis didn’t play more than 50% of the offensive snaps in 10 of the first 12 games of the season. This was due to the presence of Emmanuel Sanders, who was the starter early in the year.
However, when Sanders was forced to miss time due to a knee injury, Davis played 80% or more in five of the six games he was active. During that stretch, he had 449 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, with 201 of those yards and four of those touchdowns coming in one game against the Chiefs.
CBS Sports has the Buffalo Bills WR among their six players set to break out
Jason La Canfora at CBS Sports also put together his list of breakout candidates and had similar players to PFF with Tua Tagovailoa, Kwity Paye, and Gabriel Davis among his six players. The three new players on his list was wide receiver Rashod Bateman, tight end Irv Smith Jr., and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
Who didn’t like what this kid put on film in the playoffs? How about putting up over 200 yards and four touchdowns against the Chiefs? That will go a long way to building up more currency and volume in targets from Josh Allen. You cannot defend everyone in this offense and Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders moving on should work in his favor, too. Davis looks like the No. 2 receiver to me, someone who can make strides on the outside and is more than a one-game wonder.
The absence of Sanders really creates a path to starting for Gabriel Davis but also losing Cole Beasley could work in his favor. The Bills did add a number of other pass catchers this offseason like Jamison Crowder and James Cook but there is no reason to think Gabriel Davis doesn’t see an increase in targets this season, upwards of 100 targets in this pass-heavy offense, and in turn, gives him a great chance of breaking out in 2022.