Last season was a rocky one for the Buffalo Bills. Finishing with a 7-9 record, only winning one game in the AFC East division and dealing with multiple injuries, the Bills are looking for a fresh start under newly hired Head Coach Sean McDermott. In 2017, three players that you can expect to have a better year than are Sammy Watkins, Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland.
Watkins has had an injury filled career dealing with problems specifically to his ribs, groin, hip, calf, and foot. While having dealt with these setbacks, he has still shown to be the number one receiver in Buffalo. Last season, Watkins was dealing with a foot injury that he had suffered in the offseason which limited him to eight games, 28 receptions, 430 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
For only playing half of the season, these aren’t terrible stats but they need to improve especially with him going into his contract year. With the departure of Robert Woods to the Rams, you are likely to see Watkins’ production to increase as long as he stays healthy so Buffalo can pick up his fifth year-option.
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The 19th pick overall in the 2016 NFL Draft was on the sidelines for the first six weeks of the season due to a shoulder injury that he had suffered before the draft. In 10 games, Lawson rallied up 13 tackles, one forced fumble and two sacks. There is more than enough room for improvement but there is a reason why the Bills selected him in the first round, the guy can play.
Going into his sophomore season, Lawson has set his bar for improvement and he can live up to his potential just like his Clemson days expect Lawson to become a leader on the defense and help bring the defense back up as one of the top ones in the league.
The second round pick out of Alabama in 2016 who can be considered a steal for the Bills took a major setback when he tore his ACL before the season even started. Ragland was originally a first-round prospect until it was discovered that he had an enlarged aorta which caused him to fall in the second round. If you were to look at Ragland from his days at Alabama, you would see that he is a thumper. Any running back that attempts to run at him, it is going to be lights out.
Even though he is a sophomore in the NFL, he will be making his debut with the built-up rage that he has from missing last season and you can expect to see him making plays and knocking players into next week. He’ll likely take over the middle linebacker position and head coach Sean McDermott has said that he sees Ragland playing the same role that Luke Kuechly does in Carolina. Ragland most certainly has the potential to become a Luke Kuechly type of player and going into his first season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ragland knock players out of games.