NFL Scouting Combine – How Can Bills Improve YAC?

Buffalo Bills, Bijan Robinson (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills, Bijan Robinson (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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The Buffalo Bills must improve yards after the catch in 2023

As good as the Buffalo Bills offense has been over the past two years, there has been a consistent weak spot in Yards After Catch (YAC). The coaches and front office identified this as a priority in the 2022 off-season and sought to improve in YAC entering the 2022 season focusing on adding a slot receiver as they signed Jamison Crowder and Tavon Austin to replace Cole Beasley.

As they continued to struggle throughout the season, they brought back Beasley and John Brown after Crowder was injured and Isaiah McKenzie failed to develop as many had hoped. The result was a disappointing improvement from 32nd in the league in YAC in 2021, to 31st in 2022.

Buffalo’s leader (Stephon Diggs) had just 413 YAC, ranking 26th in the NFL behind Juju Smith-Schuster, Dallas Goedert, and DeAndre Swift who missed much of the year with multiple injuries. Interestingly the Top 20 in the NFL in YAC last year included 8 running backs (plus Deebo Samuel), 10 wide receivers, and two tight ends.

Awareness of this diverse mix among YAC leaders, along with the repeatedly stated and obvious need to improve in this area are likely both key factors that led Brandon Beane to stress the importance of adding “playmakers” when asked about adding a wide receiver this offseason.