Buffalo 3rd-Rounder Graham Gets 1st-Team Reps but Still Has a Long Way to Go

Sigmund Bloom@SigmundBloomNFL Draft Lead WriterJune 21, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - MAY 11:  T.J. Graham #11 of the Buffalo Bills receives punts during  Buffalo Bills Rookie Camp on May 11, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills surprised the draft community by taking speedy wide receiver TJ Graham in the third round. He was widely seen as a sixth or seventh-round pick by most draftniks, a "track athlete playing football." Graham has had some ups and down during mini camps and OTA. Judging by the mixed signals, he's likely to be the fifth receiver at the beginning of the season.

Graham has been getting reps with the first team and making "impressive" plays downfield, according to WGR 550's Joe Buscaglia. Buscaglia also reports that Graham has had his share of bad drops, too.

Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick expressed some excitement about what Graham's speed can add to the offense, but he mostly poured cold water on any immediate optimism about Graham's early prospects.

It's tough. It's tough for a rookie to come in here. Our offense, you need to know all four positions. It's the way the wide receiver is in our offense. It's a lot more difficult than going somewhere and playing one position all the time.

The Bills are likely to get Graham on the field in some four, and even five-side sets early in the season to try to make defenses account for his speed. Depending on how quickly he comes along in training camp and preseason, the standard for success could merely be whether Graham runs the correct route on the play. As long as the safeties play on their heels, the Bills might not even mind if he runs the wrong one.