Dec. 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Brad Smith (16) runs the ball while being tackled by New York Jets free safety Eric Smith (33) and defensive back Josh Bush (32) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28 to 9. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
So far we have looked at the returning Bills and three of the top rookies. The Buffalo Bills, earlier today released the 1 wide receiver on the reserve/injured list, Kevin Norrell. Norrell was signed as an undrafted free agent and was hurt in the beginning of spring practices. This now leaves 11 wide receivers on the roster.
The first wide receiver we will look at is going to be Brad Smith. Yes he is a returning Bill but what position will he play or will he even make the team. He has the talent to play WR, QB, RB and return kicks, but is his time up if he is restricted to a WR role?
We are going to look at Smith’s receiving stats as this will likely be his place on the team, if he makes it. Smith in 2011 was able to play in 15 games and start 5 of them. He came away with 23 receptions 240 yards and 1 TD. In 2012 he again played in 15 games but only started 2. He amassed 14 receptions and 152 yards and 2 TDs.
DeMarco Sampson is the next on the list. Coming into his sophomore year, Sampson played with the Cardinals as a rookie. He was able to play in 12 games and record 3 catches for 36 yards. Not stellar numbers for a rookie. At San Diego State, Sampson was able to put together a pretty good senior year where he was able to grab 67 receptions and 1220 yards.
Chris Hogan came to the Bills in 2012 but didn’t play at all. He has been a part of the 49ers, Giants and Dolphins. During the Dolphins series, HBO Hard Knocks, Hogan gained some fame when Reggie Bush gave him the nickname ‘7-11’ because he was always open.
Brandon Kaufman is rounding out our WR breakdown. He came to the Bills as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Washington. In 2012, he set the FCS single-season receiving yards record, recording 93 receptions for 1,850 yards and 16 touchdowns. He declared for the NFL draft early. Kaufman has decent size at 6’5″ and 216#. He is compared to Brian Finneran.
Out of the 11 wide receivers that we have looked at, Stevie Johnson is the only clear cut starter. I anticipate the Bills keeping 6 wide receivers on the roster. Woods and Goodwin should be good to go. This leaves 3 spots for Smith, Kaufman, Easley, Hogan, Rogers, Elliott, Sampson and Graham. TJ Graham should be another to make the team.
Past these 4 it will come down to performance during training camp so anyone’s guess is as good as mine.