Buffalo Bills: What’s the big deal about Austin Willis?


Buffalo Bills newest wide receiver was apparently wanted by several other teams

When the Buffalo Bills entered training camp this year, wide receiver was viewed as a position of strength. With the likes of Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Percy Harvin on board, this opinion was justified.

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However, this was before a barely believable barrage of injuries hit the team. The Bills went from wondering which receivers would make the cut, to not having their top four pass catchers on the field against the Cleveland Browns, after Chris Hogan was carted off with a knee injury.

With a weakened cast of receivers, the Bills decided to bring in Austin Willis for a workout on Saturday. Later on that same day, as confirmed by Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, Buffalo signed the 23-year old.

According to Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News, several other teams were competing for the services of Willis. However, why would there be so much interest in a player who wasn’t even drafted out of college?

Furthermore, the Topeka, Kansas native was previously in camp with the Oakland Raiders. He was let go, after failing to make much of an impression on the Raiders coaching staff.

Jul 31, 2015; Pittsford, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (right) talks with wide receivers Sammy Watkins (14) and Deonte Thompson (80) during training camp at St. John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless, there is a lot of intrigue over the potential of Willis, as a result of his showing at Emporia State’s Pro Day back in March. He posted 40-yard dash times of 4.38 and 4.39.

On top of this, the 5 ft 9, 175 lb receiver also bench-pressed 225 pounds 21 times and recorded a 39.5-inch vertical leap. Of course, all this means very little, if you’re not producing on the field.

In that respect, Willis finished his college career with 127 receptions for 2,002 yards and 18 touchdowns. Despite playing at a Division-II school, these are still deemed as excellent numbers.

Interestingly, the former All-State 5A high school defensive back originally entered college on a track scholarship. However, he would eventually walk onto the football team and go on to become a captain.

Ultimately, regardless of how much attention teams how shown recently, Willis will have to make a much better impression that the one with the Raiders. However, he’s used to proving people wrong, as he told Herbie Teope of chiefsdigest.com, back in April.

Willis said at the time: “People doubt me all the time. People don’t want to take a chance on me.

“It’s kind of been the story coming out of high school and college, nobody really wanted to take a chance on me. So I’m hoping coming out of college to the pros, somebody is willing to take a chance on me.”

With the Bills, he has that chance. Now it’s up to Willis to justify their show of faith.

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