The pre-season is a great opportunity for NFL teams to give fringe players a look and the Buffalo Bills might have something in running back Christian Wade.
He joined the Bills through the NFL’s International Pathway Program and has featured in two of the team’s pre-season games so far.
While used extremely sparingly, Wade has already made some big plays despite not getting as many opportunities as those already ahead of him in the depth chart.
More from Buffalo Bills
- Buffalo Bills: Von Miller drawing inspiration from Bruce Smith
- Buffalo Bills: Von Miller the ideal addition both on and off the field
- Buffalo Bills: Majority of new stadium funding will come from public
- Buffalo Bills vs. Patriots: Odds, Spread, Over/Under & Betting Pick
- Buffalo Bills run game providing much-needed boost to offense
With his very first touch, Wade ran for a 65-yard touchdown in the Bills’ 24-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
That was his only touch of the game, and what a way to make an impression.
Wade was less successful running the ball in the team’s 27-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers, averaging just two yards on two carries.
But he did show off an ability to make decent catches in the passing game, hauling in a 48-yard reception.
With two big plays on very little usage, albeit against the Bills’ opponents’ third and fourth options, Wade has impressed and should be deserving of consideration when the team cuts their roster down to 53 and announces their practice squad.
The chances of Wade landing on the practice squad are surprisingly high despite his small sample size, thanks largely to the fact that he is an international player that has arrived in the NFL through the IPP.
Teams are usually allowed to name ten players on their practice squad, but if they have a player that came through the IPP then they are allowed to name 11 – essentially allowing the team to carry one extra player than is usually permitted.
If the Bills feel that Wade isn’t worth a spot on the standard ten allocated places, the ability to have him alongside ten other guys will likely appeal to the Bills – allowing him more time to develop his intangibles, such as his blocking ability and route running.
His experiences in rugby union will help Wade transition to the NFL, but it was certainly a tall order to expect to make a 53-man roster so soon after arriving.
A year on the practice squad, adjusting to the game and learning the Buffalo Bills playbook will go a long way to helping Christian Wade make a bigger impression ahead of the 2020 season.
If the Bills’ running game struggles this season and Wade impresses while taking practice squad reps, there could be an opportunity for him to feature in the league this season but it would be more realistic to expect him to take a year to develop.
What do you think Bills Mafia? Will Christian Wade be named to the team’s practice squad on September 1st? Do you think he has a real shot at playing in the NFL? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!