5 biggest draft gems for the Buffalo Bills in the last decade

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The NFL Draft is a three-day process, and the first day is when the highly rated players get drafted, whereas the inferior prospects typically go in the later rounds on Day 2 or Day 3. However, a first-round player isn't always guaranteed to live up to the hype, and there always tend to be great players that fall in the later rounds.

These talented late-round players are called "gems", and these players get drafted on day three of the draft process, where rounds four through seven occur. For example, Ram's wide receiver Puka Nacua was drafted in the fifth round in last year's draft and had the best year out of all the receivers in his class. The prime example of a "gem" pick is sixth-round pick Tom Brady. 

The Buffalo Bills have done a decent job finding some talented players in the later rounds through the past decade. Some of these players are still with the Bills or solid starters on other teams. These players will be ranked from worst to best, with "5" being the worst and "1" being the best.

5 of the biggest draft gems for the Buffalo Bills in the last decade

5. Khalil Shakir, (Round 5, 2022)

Khalil Shakir had his best year as a Bill this past year. The young receiver out of Boise State showed exciting versatility and quickness that made him a good prospect. Shakir's best attribute was what he did after the catch, showing his vision, twitchiness, and toughness to make his presence known.

Shakir was projected to go into the fourth round, but the Buffalo Bills picked him up when they saw him drop in the fifth. Shakir got drafted on a Bills team that struggled to find their slot receiver, as Isaiah Mckenzie wasn't reaching expectations during the season, which caused the Bills to bring back John Brown and an aging Cole Beasly.

Shakir wouldn't do much in his rookie year, only recording 161 receiving yards and a touchdown. Shakir would go into 2023 fighting for snaps with newly acquired Deonte Harty. 

Shakir was barely utilized in the early parts of the 2023 season, until week eight against the Buccaneers, recording 92 receiving yards. Shakir would record his first 100-yard game against the Jets in week 11, and another one in week 17 against the Dolphins. 

However, in the 2023 playoffs, Shakir wouldn't necessarily light up the stat board, but he would make two crucial highlight plays in two of the Bills' playoff games. One of those plays was his 17-yard catch-and-run score. The other one would be his catch in the front left corner of the endzone against the Chiefs, and also against an elite NFL corner in La'jarius Sneed, who didn't give up a touchdown all year until then.

Shakir will likely be utilized more in the 2024 season and will look to make a bigger impact with the team. As a fifth-round player, he's looking to surpass expectations as he's already made a big impact on the team.