2020 UDFA: Bills OL Marquel Harrell

Does Harrell have what it takes to make the Bills roster?

Auburn OL Marquel Harrell joins a crowded Bills offensive line room in the midst of an unprecedented offseason. The burly guard out of the SEC comes to Buffalo with the pedigree of playing against elite competition. In addition, Harrell has also demonstrated the ability to be available, which is one of the most valuable assets a football player can have and especially valuable with HC Sean McDermott. Below is a review of Harrell’s known injury history.

2016:

Appeared in 4 games as a reserve offensive lineman and did not appear to suffer any injuries.

2017:

Started in 5 games, mostly towards the end of the season, appeared in 13 out of 14 games, missing only the Clemson game early in the season. This article does note that he dealt with several minor injuries that season, but I am unable to find the specifics of the injuries. It’s likely that he was dealing with either minor ankle sprains, contusions, or minor knee sprain. This is only speculation as these are common injuries on the line and can be played through.

2018:

Started in all 13 games garnering 3rd team All-SEC honors. Did not appear to suffer any known injuries. 

2019:

He started all 13 games once again and did not appear to suffer any reported injuries. 

Bills Injury Impact:

Harrell played in the SEC, was available for nearly every game during his Auburn career, and does not appear to have any injury concerns moving forward. For Harrell to navigate his way to the 53-man roster, he will either require a huge step up in his level of play, injuries or pure luck. 

With GM Brandon Beane’s penchant for hoarding offensive lineman, it’s quite possible that Harrell finds a home on either the Bills practice squad or on the roster of another NFL team via trade if injuries decimate a team’s depth due to the potentially abbreviated pre-season. Like every other player on the Bills roster, he has a chance to make it to the next level. 

2020 UDFA: Buffalo Bills S Josh Thomas injury analysis

Newly signed S Josh Thomas arrives to the Bills with minimal injury issues, can he make the team?

Bills S Josh Thomas comes from familiar territory in North Carolina for both GM Brandon Beane & HC Sean McDermott. Playing for Appalachian State comes with the underdog mentality, having knocked off Michigan all the way back in 2007 as an FCS team at the time. Since moving up to FBS in the Sun Belt Conference, Appalachian State has always had the ability to shock a Power 5 conference team. During that rise to the next level, Thomas has been a part of the rise of that team and a key contributor to a program that has won 5 bowl games in one 5 year class, a feat only matched by 4 other NCAA schools in history. 

On top of that, Thomas has minimal injury concerns listed below. 

2015

Appeared in 13 games in a mostly reserve role, acclimating to the college game, but appeared to avoid injury. 

2016

Appeared in 12 games, increasing his playing time and not appearing to suffer any injuries. There were 13 games played that season, but I cannot find any record of why he did not play against Tennessee in the season opener. 

2017

Thomas began to round into shape, starting 3 games at free safety and playing in 4 overall before suffering a season-ending fibula fracture as the result of a player falling on his leg against Wake Forest. The article does not specify which side was fractured and does not state whether he had surgery. It does state that he had a cast on which is expected, but details are scarce. 

As a result, he received a medical hardship waiver preserving his eligibility, missing the remaining 9 games.

2018

Thomas was able to come back to full health and regain his starting job rather quickly, appearing in all 13 games starting at free safety. He was named a captain of the team and All-Sun Belt Second team. He did not appear to have any struggles coming off the previous seasons’ injury and was able to resume his high level of play.

2019

Appeared in all 14 games as a team captain and first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection. Following his injury in 2017, he made 27 consecutive starts and did not appear to suffer any further injuries. 

Bills Injury Impact

Thomas is yet another UDFA that shows promise but will be limited only by his talent and the overall depth at the position. The fibula fracture is so much in the rearview mirror, it is simply history and not a concern moving forward. 

Like any player currently on the Bills roster, Thomas has a chance to play in the NFL. He may be a numbers casualty but he may also be a developmental player if he continues to improve his game and maintain his health. 

2020 UDFA: Buffalo Bills CB Ike Brown injury analysis

Will Brown’s collarbone fracture pose problems in 2020?

New Bills CB Ike Brown found a home with Buffalo shortly after the draft as he attempts to find a role at the next level. Coming out of FIU, he was able to appear in 41 games out of a possible 51 over his career accumulating 108 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions, 29 passes defended and 1 fumble recovery. 

Brown did suffer some injuries during his time as a Panther which are listed below. 

2016

Appeared in 11 of 12 games. There isn’t any record of injury during his freshman year, he missed the season opener against Indiana and then proceeded to appear in every game after that.

2017

Appeared in 5 games before suffering a left collarbone fracture as the result of a hard fallresult of a hard fall after getting tangled up with an opposing wide receiver. He missed the remaining 8 games of the season as he rehabilitated for the next 4 months. 

2018

Appeared in 13 games with 2 starts. Records indicate that he did not suffer any injuries and able to fully return following his left shoulder injury from the previous season.

2019

Appeared in 12 games, missed the Middle Tennessee game with no specifics on why he did not play. 

Bills Injury Impact

Overall, Brown has little concern injury-wise going into 2020. The broken left clavicle in 2018 isn’t a concern as the risk to re-fracture the bone is very slight. Literature indicates that re-fracture rates are under 10% and typically occur shortly after returning to activity, which is not the case with Brown, having been nearly 3 years removed from the injury.

Brown has a deep cornerback room to overcome, but in a truncated offseason, there is always a chance for any player to make the roster with strong play, injuries, and some luck. He may be simply a camp body, but the Bills have taken UDFA’s and turn them into effective players on the 53 man roster. 

2020 UDFA: Buffalo Bills RB Antonio Williams injury analysis

Does Williams have any injury concerns going into 2020?

New Bills RB Antonio Williams had a college career that was not quite he envisioned as he stepped on Ohio State’s campus back in 2016. The 4-star product from North Carolina never really got off the ground in Columbus, seeing occasional play over two seasons. After getting passed on the depth chart by RB JK Dobbins & RB Mike Webber, Williams found himself as an odd man out after 2017 and transferred to North Carolina.

During his time in Chapel Hill, he began to get playing time with 504 yards and 5 TD’s in 2018, followed by 322 yards and 3 TD’s his senior year. Though he did not get drafted, the potential is still there for Williams to make his mark at the next level. 

Collegiate Injury History

Between Williams’ time at both Ohio State and North Carolina, the only known injury that Williams suffered was a pulled hamstring during spring practices in 2017. There is little information on the specifics, but this did not help his chances going into the 2017 season which ultimately pushed him down the depth chart and searching for a new home. 

During his time closer to home, he did not appear to suffer any known injuries, appearing in 22 games over 2 years. While he is not immune to injury, his power running style could lend himself to injury if he finds himself in the backfield for the Bills in 2020.

Bills Injury Impact

Williams appears in the same position as he was at Ohio State. He has RB’s Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, TJ Yeldon, and Taiwan Jones all ahead of him for playing time. There is little concern for any re-aggravation of a hamstring injury, but considering Williams does not have the ability to go through live reps at OTA’s and must train on his own for if and when training camp starts, this does not bode well for him.

Williams may also be a developmental piece at best, but considering the top two backs are on rookie deals, it seems as though Williams is a long shot to make this roster. He is one player that must get solid preseason tape out there in order to find himself in an NFL facility come 2020. 

2020 UDFA: Buffalo Bills OT Brandon Walton injury analysis

The Bills continue to add to the offensive line depth.

The offseason continues with injury breakdowns of each and every Buffalo Bill. One of the newest Buffalo Bills, OT Brandon Walton, is the latest addition to the team following a solid career at Florida Atlantic University, alma mater of current Bills RB Devin Singletary. Walton helped keep those holes open for Singletary to make the magic happen as he became a 3rd round pick last year. 

FAU Career

Unfortunately for Walton, he did not hear his name called over the NFL Draft weekend. Instead, he became a priority undrafted free agent, signing with the Bills shortly after the 7th round ended. During his time at FAU, Walton appeared in 44 games over 4 years. His redshirt freshman year he appeared in only 4 games, but after that, appearing in 40 games over the next 3 seasons. He did not appear to suffer any reported injuries and was a valuable player in the trenches, garnering All C-USA first-team honors in 2019 after an honorable mention honor in 2018.

Bills Injury Impact

Walton has a ways to go to make this roster. He played both right and left tackle during his time at FAU, but the quality of competition is significantly lower than what he will see at the NFL level. Add in the fact that the offensive lineman group is already deep indicates that Walton better show some stellar play come training camp. Unfortunately, he has lost the ability to participate in rookie minicamp and OTA’s to acclimate to both the team and coaches due to the pandemic. 

His lack of injury history may benefit him if others around him go down, but even with a strong preseason, he may find his way to the practice squad as he adjusts to the NFL level. For now, I consider him a camp body that could become a project for future seasons.

Buffalo Bills & NFL Draft Recap

Recapping the past two months worth of work for your reading pleasure.

Hey there Bills fans! After a long hiatus at Banged Up Bills, I am back with content as we continue to navigate this offseason during the pandemic. As I had said in a previous article, I would only be posting if there was breaking news. During that time, I had been feverishly working with Cover 1 writing up injury draft analysis. I have also been writing up injury reviews for Buffalo Rumblings post draft for our newest Buffalo Bills. 

As I write for my own site, Cover 1, & Buffalo Rumblings, it can be hard to track all the work I did unless you scour the Twitter feed on the side of the webpage. So to make it easy, below are all the newest Bills draft picks and free-agent signings for your reading pleasure. I have also included all my Cover 1 articles, two of the current Bills in TreyAdams & Zack Moss. 

Buffalo Rumblings 

DE A.J. Epenesa 

RB Zack Moss 

WR Gabriel Davis 

QB Jake Fromm

K Tyler Bass

WR Isaiah Hodgins

CB Dane Jackson

S Garrett Taylor

OT Trey Adams

FB Reggie Gilliam

 

Free Agent Signings

OL Garrett McGhin

OL Evan Boehm

CB E.J. Gaines

OT Daryl Williams

DT Vernon Butler

DE Mario Addison

DT Quinton Jefferson

LB Tyler Matakevich

LB A.J. Klein

WR Stefon Diggs

RB Taiwan Jones

CB Josh Norman

 

Cover 1

QB Tua Tagovailoa

EDGE Anfernee Jennings

EDGE Terrell Lewis

OT Trey Adams

CB Bryce Hall

OT Netane Muti

RB Zack Moss

S Antoine Winfield Jr.

LB Justin Strnad

LB Markus Bailey

OT Lucas Niang

WR Bryan Edwards

TE Jacob Breeland

WR Laviska Shenault

 

Podcasts

All Things Buffalo Bills Ep.9 

Locked On Bills 4/1/20

Rockpile Report Episode 189

Continue to check back for more injury history reports on the newest Bills signings as we slog through the offseason. Also, continue looking for position injury recaps as training camp approaches. 

 

Bills Offseason Injury Updates

Get the #Bills latest injury news during these long lulls in the offseason as we inch closer to OTA’s Phase 1

Talk about some offseason doldrums! Mock draft after mock draft, continuous speculation about what player goes where. On top of that, the underwear Olympics are coming up at the end of February which will take the draft season to a whole new level of madness.

To make matters worse, there has been little to no updates regarding anything Bills content outside of DT Star Lotulelei’s restructuring of his contract. That and TE Greg Olsen signed with the Seahawks after meeting with the Bills.

But there’s still love for you Bills fans over here at Banged Up Bills. It’s been about a month since any major news was released regarding offseason surgeries. While there has been little new information, I still feel it’s beneficial to provide updates on the surgeries. This is to attempt to further identify what each player is dealing with and any possible updated timelines.

Jerry Hughes

Jerry got the Bills in some hot water over his tweet below right after the season ended. To recap, he announced that he was playing all season with torn wrist ligaments in his right wrist.

I attempted to speculate what type of injury he may have been dealing with right after the news broke. Make sure to go check it out if you haven’t already. Since then, Jerry had surgery about two and a half weeks after the news with this picture below.

Fortunately, Hughes did not get the Bills in trouble and no fines were assessed due to the injury.

While we won’t know the specifics of the wrist injury, social media does allow us to gather some information on specifics based on rehab timelines. While this is not conclusive, it appears that Hughes still has some type of cast or splint on his wrist that he attempts to hide under the table during the picture.

Click to access scapholunate-ligament-repair.pdf

If that is indeed the case, then this points more towards the theory that he had a scapholunate ligament repair as the timeline for rehab protocols indicate that he is to be in the cast/bracing for six weeks. At the time of this article, he will be a few days shy of four weeks. At this point in rehab, he will be performing any range of motion activities with his fingers, elbow, and turning of the forearm, known as pronation and supination.

He will still likely be limited for most of OTA’s, but he should be active and present as he gears up for yet another season. There should be no limitations come training camp.

Ed Oliver

Oliver’s rookie season progressively got better as he adjusted to the demands of the NFL. He began to show why the Bills selected him ninth overall in last year’s draft. Despite the improvement during the season, it was a surprise when Oliver announced that he had core muscle surgery back on January 14th.

Bills fans got some details with news stories detailing the exact reason he got the surgery later on. But these did not detail the exact area, when he injured it, how he injured it, and the severity. To get some background information on core muscle injuries, check out my article.

Since then, it has been nearly radio silent with little information. The only indication that Oliver is doing alright is that he made it down to Houston at the beginning of February. Based on general rehab guidelines, Oliver is still working on flexibility and reintroducing strengthening exercises, progressing the level of difficulty and resistance as tolerated.

He may also be limited during part of OTA’s, but should be able to participate during Phase Three when there is actual contact. He should also be fully ready for training camp.

Jon Feliciano

Feliciano continued the trend of players requiring surgery after the season, specifically for a left rotator cuff tear. He had noted that he was playing all season with the tear that dated back to the scrimmage at New Era Field in early August.

Feliciano is about five weeks out from surgery which means he has either just begun or will begin to get his arm out of the sling more. He will be progressing his range of motion, careful to not stress the healing tissue and possibly begin working on isometrics based on the doctor’s protocol. For more details regarding a rotator cuff repair, read this article I wrote last month.

Feliciano will take his time to get through the rehab and will not be available for OTA’s. Thankfully, he should be ready for training camp this summer.

Levi Wallace

Wallace was the most recent surgery added to the list, requiring shoulder surgery back on January 28th.

Unfortunately, outside of what Jay Skurski stated, there has not been any other information released. It is known he suffered a shoulder injury back against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the specifics are not available. Unless details are released, I believe he may have had a general cleanout of the shoulder arthroscopically.

It is too soon to tell if he will be able to participate in any fashion during OTA’s. But I remain hopeful that he can participate and be ready for training camp.

Cody Ford

Finally, we get to the last player who required surgery this offseason. Ford was a surprise announcement that he required surgery on his right shoulder. Like Wallace, details are scarce, but there is some information to be interpreted from pictures.

Based on the picture below, Ford is dealing with either a torn labrum in his right shoulder or a rotator cuff repair, both of which would take four to six weeks in the sling. Based on the most recent picture, he would be four weeks out.

Details may emerge later with the exact injury, but seeing updates such as this helps narrow down what the player could be dealing with. If he is dealing with either injury, range of motion is vital early on and performing isometrics to take his rehab to the next stage for strengthening is key. Regardless of the injury repair, he should be fully cleared in either case for training camp barring any unforeseen complications.

While this doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty details that people want to know, it does establish several injury timelines. This also provides updates on how the players are responding to surgery and if anything seems out of the ordinary.

I expect that more details will emerge regarding some of the injuries, but not a given. The Bills are still on track to bring nearly everyone back onto the team to maintain the culture the coaching staff strived to establish. As fans, we can only hope that the Bills are maximizing the quality of starters at each position. If any go down, it’s important to have a capable backup who can carry the torch until the starter returns.

For the latest up-to-date content, check out @BangedUpBills on Twitter and here on the website. Make sure to also check out Cover1.net for my draft injury analysis on prospects as the NFL draft approaches.