Bills Predicted to Add RB With ‘Brinks-Truck’ Power Behind James Cook

Isaiah Davis

Getty Isaiah Davis runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

The Buffalo Bills put together a potent rushing attack last season thanks to a breakout season from James Cook, but now approach the 2024 season with little depth in the backfield.

After Cook turned in the team’s first 1,000-yard season since LeSean McCoy, the Bills allowed most of their veteran running backs — Latavius Murray, Damien Harris, Nyheim Hines, and Leonard Fournette — to either leave through free agency or release. Though the Bills did bring back Ty Johnson after a strong season as the No. 2 behind Cook, the team lacks a power element to the rushing game.

The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia believes the team will address that in the coming days, adding a running back in the late rounds of the NFL Draft to provide some depth behind Cook.

Bills Urged to Add ‘Brinks Truck Runner’

Buscaglia suggested the Bills could address their backfield with the No. 204 overall pick, selecting South Dakota State running back Isaiah Davis. While Buscaglia noted that general manager Brandon Beane could also use the pick to address depth on the offensive line, Davis’s versatility and ability to play in multiple phases could give him the advantage.

“Rather than an offensive tackle who doesn’t have a great shot to make the team, taking a chance on a late-round running back seems like a good play at this point,” Buscaglia wrote. “With the players still on the board, the Bills should be looking for someone who plays with a little power and can also chip in on special teams. The best fit for that description is Isaiah Davis of South Dakota State.” analyst Lance Zierlein called Davis a “Brinks-truck runner” with the size and power to break tackles and gain additional yards after contact.

“Davis is a naturally physical player due to his size but also possesses the bend and footwork to create alternate pathways when needed,” Zierlein wrote in his pre-draft analysis of Davis. “He will need to ramp up his decisiveness and hit holes more quickly to thrive through the step up in competition. Davis has limited speed to widen NFL defenses and will need to run with more downhill focus. He has the potential to play all three downs and should be in consideration in the middle rounds.”

The Bills got only limited contributions from their power running backs last season, with Murray and Fournette combining for just 340 total yards and four touchdowns and Harris chipping in 94 yards with one touchdown before being lost to a season-ending neck injury.

The Bills turned mostly to quarterback Josh Allen in short-yardage rushing situations, though Beane has expressed a desire to limit the hits Allen takes in the rushing game.

Bills Expected to Address Other Areas on Offense

Many analysts expect the Bills to focus more heavily on receiver in the draft, especially after No. 1 Stefon Diggs was traded to the Houston Texans and No. 2 Gabe Davis left in free agency. Beane said the team is looking for versatility from a new pass-catcher with an emphasis on the ability to generate yards after the catch.

“There is a lot of different style receivers from size, speed, quickness,” he said, via the team’s official website. “Some have better hands, some are not great RAC — they’ve got good hands, but you’re probably not getting much. Some other ones maybe have less size, but if you can get the ball in their hands, they kind of turn into a little bit of a running back.”

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