This is You Heard It Here First – where thinking outside the box and predicting the future is a social pastime.
I can remember watching C.J. Spiller play for the Clemson Tigers in college and thinking “man, this guy is gonna be huge when he gets to the NFL.” Come the day of the 2010 NFL Draft and when the Buffalo Bills pick comes up they had their choice in so fast that I remember the one of the NFL Network commentators say “the Bills are about to pick their franchise player” then the shock when Roger Goodell revealed the Bills had taken Spiller 9th overall with both Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson on the team.
Ever since selecting Spiller the Buffalo Bills have undergone a transformation of sorts. Under Chan Gailey there have been obvious improvements most notably on offense despite the team choosing to part ways with Lynch. After two years in Gailey’s offense, I believe now is the time for C.J. Spiller to shine.
This offseason the Bills chose to pay starting running back Fred Jackson with a contract extension worth $8.7 million in new money but what is being underplayed is that aside from the $3 million signing bonus none of the contract paid is guaranteed and as such Jackson could be cut at any time with only barely a blemish on the team’s salary cap. The Buffalo Bills have all the leverage in the deal and this bodes well for Spiller as he stands to take Jackson’s job should the 31 year old falter.
One of the biggest issues I had with the Bills’ offense last year was the overuse of Jackson who at age 30 was reaching the back end of his career. Spiller has obvious talent and is the future of this team’s offense. With Jackson coming off a season-ending injury Buffalo would be wise to use this opportunity to utilise Spiller’s immense talent. In this his third year in the NFL it is about time the former first round pick paid back the trust the Bills placed in him by taking him so high in the 2009 draft.
Should the Bills choose to give Spiller a much larger role in the offense I believe they will not be disappointed. Spiller’s speed and elusiveness was on display last year as he replaced Fred Jackson ably and he is only getting better as time goes on. Gailey commented on the improvement in Spiller since coming to the team:
“His confidence level just went through the roof in my opinion. He knows what to do a lot better now. He has a lot of confidence that he can play running back, he can go out and play receiver, he can do a lot of things and blocking. He’s gotten better at his blocking from the previous year. His ball security was a lot better last year. He carried it multiple times and did a good job of controlling the ball. Just his overall confidence level I think is very good this year.”
These words should be viewed by Buffalo Bills fans with optimism as there’s indication C.J. Spiller may be ready. Should he have his breakout year in 2012 I won’t be surprised and now neither will you because You Heard It Here First.