Buffalo tailback Devin Singletary had a very solid rookie season last year. Could he become the first member of the Bills to lead the NFL in rushing since a guy by the name of OJ Simpson? Here are Singletary’s odds at Mybookie to lead the NFL in rushing yards in the 2020 regular season.
- Odds to win NFL rushing title: +3500
Singletary was a spectacular college football player at Florida Atlantic. As a sophomore in 2017, he led all Division I FBS players with 32 rushing touchdowns, 33 overall touchdowns scored, and 198 points scored, and finished with 1,920 rushing yards. In 2017, Pro Football Focus marked that Singletary finishes No. 2 nationally in missed tackles forced on carries and No. 2 in total breakaway yards among returning FBS running backs with 917 yards gained on breakaway runs.
Singletary rushed for 22 touchdowns the following year with 1,348 rushing yards on 261 attempts. He finished his college career as FAU’s all-time rusher and with the sixth-most rushing touchdowns in FBS history despite playing just three seasons.
The Bills took Singletary with the No. 74 overall pick in the 2019 draft. He joined a backfield with veterans LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, and T. J. Yeldon, but earned a prominent role with the Bills after McCoy was released as part of final preseason cuts.
Overall, Singletary finished the 2019 season with 775 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to go along with 29 receptions for 194 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Those aren’t earth-shattering numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a very solid start for a third-round, small-school running back. His 775 yards were the fourth-most by a rookie running back in 2019, behind only David Montgomery, Miles Sanders, and 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up Josh Jacobs.
Singletary suffered a Week 2 injury and didn’t return until Week 7. By Week 9, Singletary took over clear-cut No. 1 duties, registering 20-plus touches four times over the second half of the year.
Over the last half of the season, he totaled 603 yards and a touchdown on 4.6 yards per carry, and added 136 yards through the air with a touchdown. The Bills were a completely different team with Singletary getting the majority of the playing time, with the ability to create some versatility as opposed to Gore when they would usually implement 12 or 13 personnel.
In Buffalo’s Wild-Card loss in Houston, Singletary rushed 13 times for 58 yards and caught 6-of-7 targets for 76 yards. Singletary led the Bills in receiving in the game.
Part of his elusiveness is from his smaller stature at 5-foot-7 and he can shrink even smaller to sneak in and out of creases between the tackles. Bills GM Brandon Beane said Singletary “definitely could” be “the workload guy” this year. He should have a bigger workload with Gore off the roster.
Beane also said they’re always interested in bringing in competition if the “right guy” is available and in fact the team took Utah tailback Zack Moss at No. 86 in the draft so Singletary probably will have to share touches.
Growth for Singletary in Year 2 is also as simple as entering year two with the same offensive coordinator and position coach — OC Brian Daboll and RB coach Kelly Skipper. Singletary will likely feel more comfortable in understanding what’s expected of him, how they coach from a day-to-day basis and how he can grow under their coaching. Singletary also has one year under his belt with the offensive line who returns all five starters.
Singletary hasn’t been able to work out with teammates this offseason with the NFL Players Association mandating players not train with each other to help stop spread COVID-19. So, Singletary’s former American Heritage High School football coach is letting him use his home gym to stay in shape.
“I was able to reconnect with my high school coach, and he has a weight room in his back yard and a field right next to his house that we’re able to use,” said Singletary. “That was a blessing to have my coach there, so that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing.”
The Bills are 5.5-point favorites for Week 1 vs. the visiting Jets.