The Bills’ lack of a consistent threat opposite Stevie Johnson at wide receiver has been an issue over the last few years and it seemed during the draft that the team was prioritizing finding a player to fill that hole.
They drafted Robert Woods in the second round and Marquise Goodwin in the third round and signed the troubled but talented Da’Rick Rogers as an undrafted free agent, adding three new bodies to the group and setting the stage for a competition at camp. According to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, they won’t just be competing with T.J. Graham, Brad Smith and others for snaps, however.
Hackett downplays the need to find a No. 2 receiver, choosing instead to talk about how the team has to find the best skill position players on the team regardless of whether they are receivers, backs or tight end.
“I think when you look at the wide receivers it’s not just the wideouts, it’s a competition for everybody on the team,” Hackett said, via the team’s website. “It’s who are the best five skill players that we have? It’s my job to take those five best players and put those guys out there a whole bunch and be very multiple with that. If it’s a lot of wide receivers then you might have a lot of wide receivers. If it’s more tight ends, more running backs, whichever one dominates and does a better job out on the field that’s who we want out there. So I think it comes down to who excels in training camp. So it could be a lot of wideouts. It could be more tight ends, more fullbacks, more halfbacks. We just want the best players out there so I think that will always kind of fluctuate.”
While the Bills, like all teams, are going to want to put their best players on the field whenever they can, there would be logistical problems with formations featuring just one receiver. The Bills would be much more limited in what they can do offensively and the uptempo pace that they’ve been trumpeting all offseason would be less likely to take defenses by surprise if their personnel grouping eliminated certain plays from consideration.
Finding a No. 2 receiver might not be a panacea for the Buffalo offense, but it is definitely a position they’ll need to fill to boost their offense to its maximum potential.