Faces of the 2021 Buffalo Bills

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NFL teams are currently preparing themselves for the start of the 2021 season, hoping to improve on the last. As such, it is an ideal time to reflect on which players—ones who are dependable and rise up when the chips are down—are considered leaders on the field, the locker room, and the community. For the 2021 Buffalo Bills, these three players are the most prominent figures on the roster.

Faces of the 2021 Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen

Josh Allen started his career as an average rookie in 2018. His subsequent rise to stardom happened rather quickly. In 2019, he showed flashes of greatness, and pundits around the league took notice. Running back LeSean McCoy summed it up perfectly: “He has a bright future. Put the right pieces around him and it’s going to be dangerous.”

When in Dallas for Week 13 of the 2019 season, Allen displayed his toughness when it mattered most. He dominated the Cowboys that Thanksgiving Day, completing nearly 80 percent of his passes while scoring through the air and on the ground.

2020 was the year Allen shook up the NFL. He then became the first player in Bills history with 400 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, and no interceptions in a game in Miami for Week 2 of the 2020 season. Furthermore, he rarely performed poorly in a game. Week after week, he played at an elite level. He also set the single-season franchise record for passing yards (4,544) and touchdowns (37).

Head coach Sean McDermott said, “There’s no moment too big for him… Josh is the leader and he does a great job leading by example.” His leadership carried the Bills to the playoffs and was the reason many believed Buffalo had a legitimate shot at reaching the Super Bowl. Additionally, he finished second in voting for Most Valuable Player, behind only Aaron Rodgers. If he continues playing at this caliber, it won’t be long before he earns a Super Bowl ring and possibly even the M.V.P. award.

Stefon Diggs

The Bills sacrificed four picks over two drafts to acquire Stefon Diggs but he made sure it was all worthwhile. Buffalo is fortunate to have one of the league’s most elite route runners. Formerly a member of the Minnesota Vikings, Diggs wins contested catches when necessary and has enough speed to take the top off a defense. He is at his best within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, where he is shifty and hard to cover.

What makes the biggest difference is the trust Allen has with Diggs. The latter recently revealed Allen tells him to get open no matter what and simply catch the ball. The quarterback isn’t concerned with what Diggs does, he trusts him enough to get open. This allows Diggs to take some creative license, attributing their trust to the act of making plays together.

In 2020, Diggs led the NFL with 127 receptions and 1,535 yards, earning All-Pro honors along the way. He was also considered a locker room leader as the Bills reached the AFC Championship Game. Leading the league in these statistics in your first year with a franchise suggests it can only get better from here on.

Cole Beasley

Pro Football Focus recently named Cole Beasley Buffalo’s “most underrated player,” but to the Bills he certainly is not. They appreciate he is a talented receiver, demonstrating why one should focus on what a player can do rather than his shortcomings. He is easily one of the NFL’s craftiest route runners, particularly from the slot.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll employs a scheme where Beasley can thrive on the inside and he unsurprisingly has. If he had not broken his leg in 2020 and missed the regular-season finale, he likely would have passed the 1,000-yard threshold. He caught nine of the 11 contested targets sent his way, the best rate in the NFL. No wideout caught more passes out of the slot than Beasley, establishing him as a true veteran asset to the team (and to Allen).

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