Bills training camp questions: Other than Josh Allen, who could have a Pro Bowl season?


Staff member

This is the second of 10 questions in a series previewing Buffalo Bills training camp. Today: Other than Josh Allen, who could have a Pro Bowl season?

The Buffalo Bills employ a bona fide superstar in Josh Allen.

The quarterback is one of the most recognizable, and best, players in the NFL. The Bills, however, lost a significant amount of star power this offseason with the trade of wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans. Diggs is a four-time Pro Bowler and in 2020 was first-team All-Pro.

He’s not the only player who has left the franchise this offseason to experience those honors. Center Mitch Morse (one Pro Bowl), cornerback Tre’Davious White (two Pro Bowls, one first-team All-Pro) and safeties Jordan Poyer (one Pro Bowl, one first-team All-Pro) and Micah Hyde (one Pro Bowl) were honored for their play during their time in Buffalo.

So, the Bills have lost a significant amount of star power. Who remains on the roster who can fill that void? Here are 10 players, listed in alphabetical order, who could be next in line for Pro Bowl or All-Pro honors.

Terrel Bernard: The third-year linebacker had a breakout season in 2023, finishing with 143 tackles, 6.5 sacks, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. The issue for Bernard is name recognition. While those who watched every snap for the Bills in 2023 know just how good he is, he’s still a relative unknown on the national scene. That comes with being a third-round draft pick by a small-market team. Another season like the one he had last year, however, will force people to start paying more attention to Bernard.

Bills cornerbacks Taron Johnson, right, and Rasul Douglas could be in line to have Pro Bowl seasons in 2024. Harry Scull Jr., Buffalo News

James Cook: The running back had a breakout second season, gaining 1,122 rushing yards – fourth most in the NFL – on 237 carries. Cook’s average of 4.7 yards per attempt was tied for ninth best in the league. Cook finished with just two rushing touchdowns, however, as the Bills used Allen more as their primary runner near the goal line. If that changes in 2024 and Cook starts to get more of those carries, he could be in line for another big season. There also were some big plays in the passing game that he’d like mulligans on in 2023, and if he completes those plays in 2024, it could lead to more yards from scrimmage.

Dion Dawkins: Pretty much the polar opposite of Bernard from a personality standpoint, it seems like everyone in the NFL knows Dawkins. He’s made the Pro Bowl in each of the past three seasons, and his outgoing personality and benevolence certainly aids his case, which is to take nothing away from his play on the field. Dawkins turned 30 in April, but has been exceptionally durable, missing just two regular-season games over his first seven NFL seasons.

Rasul Douglas: He made an immediate impact last season after being acquired in a trade with Green Bay at the deadline, finishing with 29 tackles, one sack, four interceptions, eight passes defensed and two fumble recoveries. With White no longer on the roster, Douglas will enter the season as the Bills’ No. 1 cornerback. With a more complete knowledge of the Bills’ defense, and entering a contract year, he has plenty of motivation to build on last season.

Taron Johnson: It’s been a slow build for the team’s seventh-year cornerback, but he’s finally starting to get recognition as one of the game’s best nickel cornerbacks. Johnson’s new contract reflects that. He had 98 tackles, one sack, eight passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery last season. He’s an invaluable member of the Bills’ defense, playing one of the toughest positions on the field.

Dalton Kincaid: You can bet on anything these days, and a good one is Kincaid to be the Bills’ leader in targets and receptions now that Diggs is gone. The second-year tight end had 73 catches for 673 yards and two touchdowns last season. He should easily build on those numbers, which will put him into Pro Bowl or All-Pro consideration.

Matt Milano: He finally got the recognition he long deserved in 2022, when he was named a first-team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, Milano wasn’t able to back that up in 2023, missing most of the season because of a broken leg suffered in Week 5 against Jacksonville. He’s expected to be ready for the start of the season as he makes his way back from injury, but it remains to be seen how he’ll respond to such an extended absence. If Milano can get back to his previous form, another Pro Bowl or All-Pro nod would be a big benefit for Buffalo’s defense.

Von Miller: Based on his 2023 production, this would be a stretch, but there are reasons to think it’s possible. No. 1, Miller will be almost two full years removed from tearing his ACL by the time the season starts. That’s sufficient healing time. No. 2, he’s got the incentive to have a big year in the form of his contract. If Miller gets to 10 sacks, he’ll make back the money he gave up earlier this offseason when his contract was reworked. No. 3, he’s got the name recognition. Next to Allen, Miller is the biggest star on Buffalo’s roster. If he gets off to a good start to the season, it’s going to be a topic on every national show. If that happens, a spot in the Pro Bowl isn’t so far-fetched.

Bills defender Ed Oliver celebrates a sack against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in December. He had 51 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, three passes defensed and an interception last season. Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

Ed Oliver: He made a strong case last year with 51 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, three passes defensed and an interception. The problem for Oliver is defensive tackle is a loaded position in the AFC. Nevertheless, if he can back up his strong 2023 season with similar production in 2024, Oliver will be in the running for a spot in the Pro Bowl.

Greg Rousseau: He had just five sacks last year, but his 18 quarterback hits shows Rousseau is capable of getting to the quarterback. He needs to stay healthy. He also needs to hope Miller produces on the other side, because that will draw the attention of the offensive line, perhaps getting Rousseau more one-on-one matchups. Entering his contract year, there is a lot at stake for Rousseau to put his most complete season together.


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