The Buffalo Bills running back room will be one of the top-watched position groups during the team’s training camp. There’s vets LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore and third-round rookie Devin Singletary joins TJ Yeldon on the other end of the age spectrum.
We’ll have to wait and see how things shake out.
But as a higher rookie selection, you can bet Singletary will stick around to the 2019 regular season. However, before Singletary even suits up for the Bills or experiences his new home, he’s walking into a place he’s excited about.
You can thank Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane for that.
According to Singletray, during the pre-draft process, the Bills were one of the teams that were most interested in him. That came to fruition when the Bills selected him with the No. 74 overall pick.
After Day 2 of the 2019 NFL draft, Beane explained the selection. First, the GM said Singletary reminds him a lot of McCoy.
“I don’t want to be unfair to LeSean, but he kind of plays like that, he makes a lot of guys miss in space, so we’ll call it a similar play-style to him,” Bean said.
“Because he didn’t get tackled a lot,” Beane further said about Singletary’s selection. “He had 66 touchdowns, I think. Out of all the guys I watched, I still have a note on this little surface where I write that this is the funnest guy I’ve watched all year. Even the guys I watched after him, I didn’t feel like I needed to erase it. The guy’s got some amazing vision, rare vision, lateral quickness, and his instincts, if this is ten [signals up], they’re up here [signals higher], and they’re very rare.”
Singletary won’t get his first look at his new home until May 10, when the Bills open rookie minicamp. Still, Beane’s admiration has Singletary motivated already, the back said.
“That’s big,” Singletary said about the Bills’ praise via Fox News. “I’m going somewhere that I’m wanted. It wasn’t just, ‘oh, we kind of want him.’ They showed that they really wanted me.
“They’ve been watching me from the beginning and like (Beane) said, I was one of the funnest to watch so that’ll be great, playing under a guy like that and I can’t wait to get to work.”
Now it’s just time to wait and see if Singletary really does has a little Shady in his game.
Sixty-six rushing touchdowns in a 38-game collegiate career.
How, Devin Singletary was asked, did he manage that?
“Just growing up in South Florida (Deerfield Beach), playing little league football, it’s big down there,” the former Florida Atlantic star told reporters during a conference call shortly after the Buffalo Bills made him a third-round draft pick last Friday night. “I just feel like, I don’t know, there’s something about South Floridians. And I’ve got God-given talent, so that’s tough.
“You might have to ask God on that one.”
The Bills were satisfied with their earthly consultation of Singletary’s game video to conclude he could perform at the same level in the NFL.
Their conviction was strong enough that they invested the 74th overall choice in him while eschewing the need to address wide receiver, a position widely considered a greater priority.
“We followed the board and he was sticking out,” General Manager Brandon Beane said of Singletary.
So, too, in Beane’s view, was the fact the running back depth chart “has some age” in soon-to-be-36-year-old free-agent signee Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy, who turns 31 in July.
Singletary, 21, fondly remembers following Gore and McCoy while growing up.
“Oh my God, yes!” he said. “It’s going to be great to finally meet them in person and just to be able to learn from them. And being able to compete with them every day, I know it’s going to be fun.”
Each of the Bills’ eight new draft picks expressed enthusiasm over being selected by the team. Singletary’s euphoria was at a level all its own.
“Oh, beyond, beyond, beyond happy. I’m just excited,” he said. “I’m ready to get to work. I’m ready to get to Buffalo right now. … I was glad to see that 716 come across my phone.”
Draft analysts said Singletary’s elusive running style and ability to catch passes (he had 51 receptions for 397 yards and a touchdown in college) reminded them of McCoy. Singletary will tell you that’s hardly a coincidence.
“I definitely grew up watching Shady McCoy,” he said. “So I definitely took things out of his game to put in my game.”
At 5-foot-7 and 203 pounds, Singletary, who gained 4,299 yards on 714 attempts at Florida Atlantic, has been seen by some as a bit small to excel in the NFL. History shows there are exceptions at all positions, including running back.
Singletary thinks he’ll be among them.
“I believe my size doesn’t matter because there’s multiple guys in the past who showed that size doesn’t matter in the league,” he said. “And I feel I’m going to be able to do the same thing. I’m going to be able to play in the league, and my size definitely won’t play a factor.”
Beane acknowledged that if Singletary were more of a home-run-hitting type of runner, looming as a constant threat to go the distance on every carry, he would have been selected higher.
Still, the GM sounds plenty pleased with what he thinks the running back has to offer.
“He didn’t get tackled a lot,” Beane said. “Out of all the guys I watched, I still have a note on this little Surface where I write that, ‘This is the funnest guy I’ve watched all year.’ Even the guys I watched after him, I didn’t feel like I needed to erase it.
“The guy’s got some amazing vision, rare vision, lateral quickness, and his instincts, if this is 10 (singling upward), they’re up here (singling higher). And they’re very rare. Rare instincts, rare vision for the position. He’s a smaller guy. I wouldn’t call him a home run hitter, but he can make guys miss in a phone booth.”
By adding Singletary — along with Gore, T.J. Yeldon and Senorise Perry in free agency — the Bills have seven players in their offensive backfield, including fullback Patrick DiMarco.
What sort of fit does the rookie see for himself?
“You know, I just want to come in … whatever way I can help the team out, if that’s on special teams or being in the backfield as a role player, whatever that may be, I’m ready to be that,” Singletary said. “Whatever they need me to do, I’m ready to do it.”