Buffalo Bills Position Battle: Slot Receiver/Wide Receiver Three
Even if you just turn on a little bit of offensive film from the Bills over the past few seasons, it’s easy to see that the slot receiver is a big part of the team’s game plans. The team will try to replace the slippery and well-established presence of Cole Beasley, for the second year in a row.
Last season, it didn’t work out so well as the offense faltered a little and they brought the veteran out of retirement down the stretch. They have Khalil Shakir, who many fans have high expectations for, and they handed a sizeable contract to former Saint, Deonte Harty.
Shakir was the Bills’ fifth-round selection out of Boise State last year, who flashed all of training camp last summer, and in limited action as well, last season. He saw 20 targets in his rookie season, recording 10 receptions, for 161 yards, and one touchdown. Shakir started camp rocking and rolling but has since cooled off. In the past week, he has had a few notable drops. Shakir and Harty were both listed as the starting slot receiver on the team’s first unofficial depth chart.
Deonte Harty brings a very welcomed speed element to the Bills’ offense. He also brings a YAC (yards after catch) ability and is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. He will be the team’s gadget player but is also looking to make an impact as the wide receiver three and number one slot option. Keep an eye on how the team lines him up, a significant amount of time in the slot could heat this battle up.
Trent Sherfield has been a wildcard but has made a strong impression thus far in training camp. He is making plays every day and has earned the trust of Josh Allen. If he keeps it up, he could force the Bills to move him from the main boundary depth option to wide receiver three.