Devin Singletary

AFC East Notes: Bills, Gronkowski, Dolphins

It looks like Bills tight end Tyler Kroft isn’t going to be ready for the start of the regular season. Buffalo signed Kroft to a three-year, $18.75MM deal back in March, and he was supposed to be their starter. He then broke his foot during OTAs, and the initial timelines had him coming back sometime right around the start of the regular season. He apparently isn’t too close to returning, as he hasn’t done any on-field work yet, according to Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic (Twitter link). Buscaglia adds that it’s “looking more and more likely” that Kroft opens the year on the PUP list.

If he does start the season on PUP, Kroft will have to miss at least Buffalo’s first six games. That’s not welcome news for the Bills, as they don’t have a ton of experience at the position. Kroft showed some potential during his four years with the Bengals, but an injury to the same foot limited him to just five games last season. In 2017, he had 42 catches for 404 yards and seven touchdowns. Kroft’s injury may end up opening up opportunities for rookie Dawson Knox, who the Bills drafted in the third round back in April. Buffalo also has veteran Lee Smith on the roster, although he’s always been a blocker and has barely ever contributed as a receiver.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Speaking of Bills rookies, running back Devin Singletary seems to be developing nicely. After a visit to Bills camp and speaking with members of the organization, Albert Breer of SI.com writes that Singletary has “picked up enough to be a three-down back right away” (Twitter link). The Bills drafted Singletary, a Florida Atlantic product, 74th overall. The only thing standing in his way now is that the Bills have a crowded backfield, with Frank Gore, LeSean McCoy, and T.J. Yeldon also in tow. To that end, Breer writes that he expects Buffalo “to get trade calls” on their running backs. Over his last two seasons at FAU, Singletary rushed for 3,266 yards and a whopping 54 touchdowns.
  • There’s nothing former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski can do to convince people he’s really retired. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes about his retirement, “few people are taking it seriously.” Volin has a new piece where a handful of former players and coaches all offer their view that Gronk might not really be done after all. The legendary tight end has insisted he’s enjoying his time away from the game, but Volin writes that “few people believe that Gronk won’t at least strongly consider coming out of retirement this fall.” It’s hard to speculate one way or the other, but he still is only 30. It’s impossible to predict, but it certainly wouldn’t be shocking if he comes back for one more ride.
  • When the Dolphins drafted Minkah Fitzpatrick 11th overall last year, they knew he wasn’t going to have one set position. He’s been moved around a good amount, and Fitzpatrick might be a little frustrated with how the new coaching staff has been using him. Fitzpatrick’s mom recently took to Twitter to respond to a beat writer’s tweet that he was playing poorly, arguing the coaches shouldn’t be playing him at strong safety, according to Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald. Asked about it after practice, Fitzpatrick said “she’s being honest and saying how she feels. There’s nothing wrong with it. I wish she would have addressed me first and talked to me first before it happens, but it is what it is. She feels very strongly.” He then also indicated he more or less agrees with her assessment, saying “she’s not wrong.” Per Beasley, the Dolphins plan to use Fitzpatrick “all over the field” in 2019.

AFC East Notes: Fitzpatrick, Jets, Bills

Ryan Fitzpatrick is well on his way to starting for a third AFC East franchise. The 15th-year veteran continues to hold off Josh Rosen for the Dolphins‘ starting quarterback job. “It’s pretty clear to me that Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the way,” Brian Flores said Tuesday (via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, on Twitter). Rosen was viewed as the clear underdog for the Week 1 role coming into camp. Fitzpatrick has not been a regular starter since his two-year Jets tenure concluded after the 2016 season, while Rosen started 13 games for an overmatched Cardinals team last year.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Jets entered camp thin at cornerback, but their top offseason investment at this spot has not impressed coaches thus far. Former Falcons slot corner Brian Poole reported to Jets camp in less-than-ideal shape, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Adam Gase did not single the fifth-year player out as one of the veterans on which the Jets will rely, with the new HC only mentioning Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts in that regard. Gang Green does not have much depth behind its top three. The Jets signed Poole to a one-year, $3MM deal ($2MM guaranteed).
  • Now two former NFL starting wide receivers are giving Jets wideouts guidance. In addition to full-time receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, the Jets brought in Hines Ward as a coaching intern, per Cimini. Ward, who began working with the Jets on Monday, served in this role with the Steelers two summers ago and was part of the one-and-done Alliance of American Football. It appears Ward’s primary pupil will be Robby Anderson, Cimini adds.
  • Bills third-round pick Devin Singletary is stationed behind one of the most veteran-heavy backfield duos in NFL history, with the Bills adding Frank Gore to their LeSean McCoy-led group. But Singletary is receiving plenty of opportunities in camp. The former Florida Atlantic star has worked with Buffalo’s starters “a ton” during camp, Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). While Louis-Jacques adds that this is partially to conserve McCoy and Gore, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds more fuel to the speculation Singletary could induce a McCoy pay-cut request or push him off the roster. McCoy (career-low 3.2 yards per carry in 2018) being a departure candidate has been floated at multiple junctures this offseason. Singletary rushed for 66 touchdowns in three college seasons.
  • Dolphins first-round pick Christian Wilkins may have an interesting side job in his first NFL season. The 315-pound defensive tackle has worked on offense as well to start camp, Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post notes. This would presumably mean a role as a fullback, but OC Chad O’Shea did not specify.

Bills Sign Cody Ford, Five Other Draft Picks, Eight UDFAs

After signing first-round pick Ed Oliver earlier today, the Bills have signed six more draft picks and eight undrafted free agents.

Draft Picks

Ford, whom many teams had earmarked as a Day 1 selection, will give the Bills options along their revamped offensive line. He’s capable of playing either guard or tackle, so Buffalo can deploy the Oklahoma product in any number of ways. Singletary, meanwhile, becomes yet another new running back on the Bills’ roster, joining T.J. Yeldon and Frank Gore. LeSean McCoy, therefore, could potentially either become trade bait or be released.

UDFAs

Jackson was widely expected to be drafted, but he was instead able to choose his destination and remain close to home. He received $75K guaranteed on his deal with the Bills, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

FAU RB Devin Singletary To Enter NFL Draft

Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary announced that he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft. The 5’9″ tailback could be in the first or second round mix, so it’s a logical move from his perspective. 

I hope I left a lasting impression on The University, football program, and the entire community,” Singletary said. “As I take the next step in to my career I will continue to represent FAU in the right way and you will forever be in my heart.”

Singletary, 20, ran for 1,920 yards and an FBS-leading 32 rushing touchdowns in 2017. This year, he had 22 touchdowns and 1,348 rushing yards, but the drop in production could be attributed to the team’s overall step back. In 2017, the team’s first year with Lane Kiffin at the helm, the Owls went 11-3 and defeated Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl. This year, they finished out 5-7 and did not qualify for a bowl game.

On his latest big board, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has Singletary ranked as the No. 10 overall running back behind David Montgomery (Iowa State), Damien Harris (Alabama), Darrell Henderson (Memphis), Benny Snell Jr. (Kentucky), Rodney Anderson (Oklahoma), Bryce Love (Stanford), Justice Hill (Oklahoma State), Karan Higdon (Michigan), and Mike Weber (Ohio State). However, he has Singletary pegged as the biggest sleeper of the bunch, and he could vault up draft boards with a strong showing in workouts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.