Buffalo Bills Training Camp Battles, Part Two: Wide Receiver
While it’s now certain that Stevie Johnson will be the Buffalo Bills’ No. 1 wide receiver entering the year, the front office has some tough decisions to make regarding the remaining nine wideouts currently on the roster.
Last season, Donald Jones was the No. 2 receiver opposite Johnson for the first seven games, hauling in 23 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown before he went down with an injury. When Jones went down, the Bills focused on Stevie Johnson, who became the first wide receiver in Buffalo Bills history to record consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Slot man David Nelson is a lock to make the team. He has improved each and every week, almost doubling his rookie numbers by catching 61 passes for 658 yards, while finding the end zone five times.
While Johnson, Jones and Nelson are locks to be on the opening day roster, that leaves us with Aiken, Clowney, Easley, Graham, Hagan, Martin and Roosevelt.
The Bills selected T.J. Graham out of North Carolina State with their third-round pick, even moving up a few spots to take him. Graham ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and has drawn comparisons to Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace. He is strictly a deep threat receiver, and utilizes his blazing speed to get down the field on go routes.
Last year in 13 games, Graham caught 46 passes for 757 yards, scoring seven times. He averaged 16.5 yards per catch.
Donald Jones was supposed to be the downfield burner. Graham could push him for playing time—at least once he can get coached up and run crisper routes.
Both Derek Hagan and Ruvell Martin were re-signed to one-year deals in the offseason. It’s unclear how they fit in—despite combining for 30 catches and 220 yards in extremely limited playing time.
David Clowney was brought in as a free agent shortly after the season ended, but he hasn’t really done much in his career, and Kamar Aiken probably wont make it past the first cuts.
Marcus Easley has been plagued with injuries the past two seasons, and hasn’t seen time in a regular season game. Unless he has an unbelievable preseason, my guess is that he’ll be gone too.
Coach Gailey likes to keep a lot of wide receivers. I’m guessing the depth chart will look something like this:
Johnson, Jones, Nelson, Graham, Hagan and Roosevelt
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