Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins bring a very different look to the Bills receiving corps.
The newly drafted duo is a far cry from the “colony of Smurfs” Sean McDermott had last season. Davis, a fourth round pick out of the University of Central Florida, is listed at 6’2”, 218 lbs, while Hodgins, a sixth round pick out of Oregon State, is listed at 6’3″, 201 pounds.
Both of them use their size to their advantage, and understand the dynamic they provide a traditionally shorter group of wide receivers.
“I know I’m a bigger receiver and one of the bigger guys on the team, and they want me to be that guy to make those contested catches,” said Davis. “I feel like when the opportunity comes my way to make a contested play in practice I’ve been coming down with some of those.”
Feeling comfortable using their size at the NFL level as been an adjustment, and has even taken coaching, but Hodgins feels he is starting to get the hang of it.
“I feel like being a bigger body I can even use it more than what I have been and knowing when to use my feet and my wiggle and maybe some double moves or whatever but also knowing when it’s time to get physical and use my big body, my big frame and really just get up on DBs and stuff,” Hodgins said.
Beyond being drafted together and being similar size in the same position group, the two have really embraced one another. Davis and Hodgins started talking the day they were drafted together and their friendship immediately blossomed, studying the playbook over flashcards and constant work.
“That’s my guy for sure,” said Hodgins. “We’ve been putting in work together since the offseason and we live right next to each other, so we’re constantly in contact with each other, trying to get the playbook down you know he helps me after practice, I help him. It’s just a great relationship.”
Davis and Hodgins have been highly praised by the Bills veterans, with John Brown even going so far as to say they knew the playbook better than they did. They both attended offseason workouts with Josh Allen, Matt Barkley, and the other offensive rookies, which helped them prepare beyond the Zoom classroom, but know they still have a ways to go before they are up to game speed.
“Guys are flying around, corners break a little faster, safeties fill the gaps a little bit quicker, linebackers moving sideline to sideline, it’s definitely a transition but nothing nobody can’t do,” said Davis. “At some point even the greats were rookies.”
“We kind of just came in and we started just to perfect our craft, and now we can actually focus on our technique and everything,” said Hodgins.
No matter if they are called to come in to relieve Brown, Beasley or Diggs, play special teams, or be a part of a specific package, both Davis and Hodgins will be there, ready to make a splash for the Bills.