Last season in 2022, the Buffalo Bills had a drop rate of 6.8%, which ranked sixth highest in the league. Gabe Davis contributed at a rate of 9.7% (14th highest) and Isaiah McKenzie at a rate of 9.2% (16th highest). Dawson Knox was in the top 40 as well, with a drop rate of 6.2%. This was an area of the Bills game that Brandon Beane and Coach McDermott wanted to address going into the 2023 NFL season.
With the Bills first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected Dalton Kincaid. Fans wanted the Bills to get Josh Allen another weapon, but most were hoping that to be in the form of a wide receiver. Instead, the Bills might have selected a superstar tight end. The team also had a secret weapon already on the roster that many had forgotten because he wasn't utilized much in his rookie year. And now running back James Cook is starting to show what he can do in the pass game too.
Dalton Kincaid is number one in the NFL among tight ends with a catch rate of 87.9%. The next closest tight end is Cincinnati Bengals Tanner Hudson at 81.8% but Hudson has only 22 targets on the season, whereas Kincaid has 58 targets, turning that into 51 receptions, 436 yards, and two touchdowns.
Khalil Shakir is number one among all wide receivers in catch rate at 88%. Two other receivers are sitting at 80%, Wan'Dale Robinson and Braxton Berrios. Those are the only three players at 80% or better. Shakir has 25 targets this season, with 22 receptions, 363 yards, and two touchdowns. I expect more of those 81-yard touchdown receptions that helped the Bills get the win against the Jets.
James Cook has a catch rate of 84.4%, which ranks tenth among running backs. His 32 targets have resulted in 27 receptions for 251 yards and two touchdowns. I am expecting these numbers to only go up with new offensive coordinator Joe Brady calling the plays. In Brady's first game as the Bills OC, the running backs were targeted seven times, and this will likely be a recurring theme going forward.
It's clear that Josh Allen has his full trust in all three of these guys and the offense should benefit a great deal. Stefon Diggs is no longer the only option in this offense. All three of these guys are in the league's top 12 in catch rate. Kincaid and Shakir are the only two in that top 12 that aren't running backs. The Bills have a huge matchup coming against the Philadelphia Eagles and I expect these three players to have vital roles and make plays, as they did against the New York Jets. These players will also have something to say about the race to the playoffs.