Pro Football Focus named six players in the NFL that are candidates to breakout in 2022.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis, despite already having some promising moments in his career, landed on the list.
Here’s how the football analytics outlet explained the decision:
Last year had the makings of a potential breakout campaign for Gabriel Davis, but then the Bills signed Emmanuel Sanders to tag-team with Cole Beasley as the secondary options in the receiving corps.
Davis showed some flashes in 2021, recording career-highs in targets (74), receptions (45), receiving yards (791) and PFF grade (81.5) over the year, but the highlight of his sophomore year came in the team’s final postseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs when he hauled in 8-of-10 targets for over 201 yards and four scores, good for a 92.5 PFF receiving grade in the eventual loss.
Davis has always thrived as a deep threat: His 500 receiving yards from deep passes is a top-30 mark among NFL wideouts over the last two seasons, and he ranked fifth in the nation in deep yards in his final season in college (620). What he hasn’t been able to control throughout his young career has been the target distribution. His 74 targets were a career-high this past year, but it still trailed the top three pass-catchers on the 2021 Bills roster.
Last season, Stefon Diggs saw a decline in passing targets and receptions, though both surpassed the century mark for the second consecutive season. While he continues to get all the attention on the opposite side of the field, the door opens for pass-catching opportunities elsewhere. It’s now or never for Davis to have a breakthrough as a budding NFL star receiver. What better way to build upon his career-high overall grade (81.5) and receiving grade (80.0) than as the clear-cut WR2 in 2022.
Davis as a selection is all about the snaps that are going to come to him now.
The one to really look at is Sanders.
Beasley has since been replaced by both Jamison Crowder and Isaiah McKenzie. Rookie fifth-round pick Khalil Shakir is also in that mix. That position is in the slot and won’t really play a part in terms of increased snaps for Davis.
Sanders departing absolutely will. Davis is slated to be Buffalo’s No. 2 receiver across from Diggs on the outside without Sanders.
Sanders has made it sound like he will not be back with the Bills. The NFL? Maybe–but nothing mentioned about Buffalo.
Davis might double his numbers from last year in 2022 with the way things are currently projecting.
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