Camp body or possible return specialist?
The Buffalo Bills allowed one of the NFL’s top kickoff returners, Andre Roberts, to leave this offseason, as the veteran signed with the Houston Texans in the Spring. Given that Roberts has made the Pro Bowl for three straight years, two of which were with the Bills, the team definitely has a hole to fill as a result of his departure.
While Buffalo could have looked at their internal options to replace Roberts as a return man, the team also added some players through the draft and free agency who may fit the bill. In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one such player, a receiver who could serve as the team’s primary return man.
Name: Brandon Powell
Height/Weight: 5’8” 181 lbs.
Age: 25 (26 on 9/12/2021)
Acquired: Signed as UFA with Buffalo on 3/26/2021
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Signed a one-year deal worth a total of $920,000; there is no guaranteed money on the deal.
2020 Recap: Powell spent the year with the Atlanta Falcons as their primary return man and sixth wide receiver. He appeared on 181 offensive snaps and 127 special teams snaps. Powell returned 17 punts for 152 yards and 17 kicks for 343 yards. He added two rushes for seven yards and 12 receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns on the year. He was targeted 18 times in the passing game. Powell fumbled twice.
Positional outlook: Powell joins a crowded receiver group that already has plenty of established players within it. Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, and Isaiah McKenzie all return after playing significant roles last season. Jake Kumerow, Duke Williams, and Isaiah Hodgins were with the team last year, as well. The Bills added Emmanuel Sanders, Marquez Stevenson, Tanner Gentry, and Lance Lenoir this offseason.
2021 Offseason: Powell is healthy and has attended OTAs thus far.
2021 Season outlook: Never say never, but it’s highly unlikely that Powell sticks on the Bills’ roster as the return specialist over an established player like McKenzie or an explosive newcomer like Stevenson. It’s more likely that Powell is here to compete and give the aforementioned players some time off during preseason games so as to avoid injury. A quick, agile slot receiver, Powell doesn’t have much of a pathway to the roster there, either. He’s probably auditioning for a role on another team come September.