One subplot developing in the Bills War Room is the team's desire to find the next Antonio Gates -- the next basketball gem on the gridiron.
As Scout.com's Bill Huber reported, Buffalo has talked to Cleveland State's J'Nathan Bullock already. Now, they're considering Arizona's Fendi Onobun. The Tucson Citizen reported that the Arizona basketball player worked out for the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots.
"It is a crash course," Onobun told the Tucson Citizen. "Now I'm just learning about all the terminology, trying to make things happen."
Onobun has never played football before, but at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds he sure has the build for the sport. In his workouts for the scouts, he said he a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, had a vertical leap of 37 1/2 and his broad jump was 10 feet, 7 inches. Comparatively speaking, these numbers instantly put Onobun amongst the cream of the TE crop.
South Carolina's Jared Cook pulled the best time among tight ends at the Combine with a 4.5. Onobun's broad jump would have also been the best at the position and his vertical leap would have been second to Cook.
With Arizona, Onobun rarely played. His best season came as a freshman when he scored only 3.1 points per game. In short, basketball is not in his future plans so he's willing to give football a shot.
Buffalo certainly is setting its sights a little higher than basketball projects at tight end. The Bills are expected to take a tight end in the early rounds, but there's no harm in taking a stab at Bullocks or Onobun. The raw potential is too high to ignore. Don't be surprised if the Bills nab one of these two after the draft. Give of of them a trial run at training camp.
The risk/reward dilemma demands Buffalo to at least give this a shot. The experiment could wield a freak at tight end and the Bills will look like geniuses. Or, it will simply flame out. Running and jumping is one thing. Contact is another. Either way, there's no harm in trying here. With only Derek Fine and Derek Schouman to speak of at tight end, the Bills must exhaust all options.
Click here for Onobun's full story in the Tucson Citizen.