Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie has yet to reach 1,000 career receiving yards over the course of his five seasons in the NFL, but that could easily change in 2022.
That’s because McKenzie has a great chance to step into a full-time role, according to head coach Sean McDermott. Thanks to the departure of Cole Beasley and Jamison Crowder’s injury issues, McKenzie is getting every opportunity he can to showcase his skills.
And when you’re a full-time starter in this offense driven by Josh Allen, anything is possible.
McKenzie has shown he can adjust to life in the NFL. It’s why he’s lasted longer than an NFL player’s typical lifespan.
But per McDermott, he’s in line to face arguably the biggest adjustment of his NFL career: stepping into a full-time role. Per Pro Football Focus, McKenize has never ran more than 237 routes in a single season. That number would’ve placed the Bills receiver at 104 among all receivers in the NFL last year.
So, it’s clear why McKenzie will have to find a way to instill the mentality of a full-time player if he wants to take a big step in 2022.
“The biggest adjustment is going to be the potential of stepping into a full-time role, now,” McDermott told reporters Wednesday. “Teams gameplan for you [and] you have more film out there. So, it’s an adjustment. There’s a toughness piece that comes with that: There’s more of a chance for good plays, yes. But there’s more of a chance for some plays you want back, as well.
“You have to know, then, through the course of the game [that] adjusting to that is a little bit different as a full-time player game-to-game, or even within the game, than it is for a part-time player.”
McKenize is in line to take over the starting slot position for the Bills. That’s where he’s been utilized most over the last two seasons, including a 2021 season that saw him run 72.7% of his routes 73.3 % of his targets came out of the slot, per PFF.
And, in 2020, all of McKenzie’s career-high five receiving touchdowns came out of the slot, as well, per PFF.
In other words: McKenzie can be a playmaker on the inside. And the Bills know this.
Now, it’s all about putting it together in a consistent fashion, which starts in training camp.
And based off recent reports, that’s exactly what McKenzie has done, thus far.
Will it be enough for McKenzie to officially step into a full-time role? Well, that remains to be seen.
But it’s certainly safe to say that he’s en route (no pun intended) to doing just that, which in turn should lead to the biggest year of his career.
Featured image via Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports