With free agency quickly approaching, it’s time for the Buffalo Bills management to evaluate the state of the roster, and determine which needs they want to fill via free agency, and which ones through the draft. After last years draft day trade, the Bills are left without a first round pick,and will have to spend some money on some offensive free agents.
To say the least, the Bills have some very talented young receivers on their current roster. In fact, this may be the most talented group they have had in many years. Led by rookie standout Sammy Watkins, and former second rounder Robert Woods, the Bills have many threats that teams must keep close eyes on. Whats most impressive is that these receivers have put up respectable numbers despite sub-par play at the quarterback position.
Here is a look at what the Bills have at receiver heading into the offseason:
After giving up their 2014 first and fourth round pick and 2015 first rounder, the Bills drafted highly skilled receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick. Although Watkins was outplayed by some fellow rookies at the position, he still put up solid numbers. In 16 games, he accumulated 65 catches for 982 yards and six touchdowns. Watkins has great speed, and is an incredible rout runner. He is very difficult to defend and can be a deep threat at times. The Bills gave up a ton to land Watkins, but if the Bills can land a starting quarterback, there is no telling how good Watkins can be.
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After being selected in the second round in the 2013 draft, Woods has had two solid years with Buffalo. This past season, Woods hauled in 65 catches for 699 yards and five touchdowns. During the last two seasons, Woods has been effective in both the slot and lined out wide. What makes him such a talented player, is his attention to detail. Woods is one of the best rout runners in the league. He has a set of great hands, and will continue to produce this coming season.
After bouncing around the league as an undrafted rookie, Hogan has found a home in Buffalo, where he is coming off of a career year. Hogan caught 41 passes, for 426 yards and four touchdowns. He proved that he has the ability to get open, and be a reliable receiver on third down. Although Hogan doesn’t have the greatest speed, he makes up for it with his hands. Hogan will never be more than a third receiver, but can be a very valuable piece to the offense.
Since being drafted by the Bills in the third round, it’s safe to say that Marquise Goodwin has been a bust. Last season, he caught just one pass for 42 yards. There is no doubt that Goodwin may be the fastest player in the league, but he just can’t seem to stay healthy. It seems that every time he touches the field, he sustains a new injury. He’s only been in the league for two years, but if Goodwin doesn’t impress in camp, he will find himself cut from the roster.
The Bills have a very talented group of receivers. Young players who are under contract, like Justin Brown and Deonte Thompson will look to make an impact come training camp. With consistent performances, both players will have a realistic shot at cracking the roster.
Don’t forget about last years mid-season pickup of Marcus Thigpen. Although his role in the offense is pretty much non-existent, he was one of the leagues top punt returners this past season. Bills fans all remember his electrifying return in a major upset of the Packers last December.
With free agency and the draft quickly approaching, the Bills will almost certainly add a receiver or two. With such a young group, the Bills will really benefit from adding a veteran to help lead them. They also lack size at the position, so don’t be surprised if they go after a player who has some height.
There is no doubt that the Bills have one of the leagues best, young talented group of receivers. If they are able to find a decent starting quarterback, the skies the limit for the Bills offense. Over the last two years, the Bills management has done a great job at finding talent at receiver. Hopefully they can continue that trend during this offseason.
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