Even if the Bills hadn't acquired T.O. this week, their wide receiver position was loaded with players who each have a difficult time climbing up the depth chart. With the addition of Owens, our WR position is further crowded with players who could be waiting to emerge alongside players who have hit their personal ceiling.
This post is to gauge opinion about the distribution of snaps. It's fairly clear that each of our three depth receivers have their unique talents; however, when does diversity of our receiver corps begin holding players back from their full potential?
Who do the Bills give more snaps? Roscoe, Hardy, or Johnson?
Exhibit A: Roscoe Parrish
Wt: 171 lbs.
Career Rec. to Games Ratio: 97 receptions over 55 games = 1.76
Average yards per catch: 10.8
TDs: 5 (plus 3 return TDs)
Parrish is a freakish athlete with speed, agility, and the ability to gain seperation in coverage. He has established himself as a star punt returner in the NFL, but has only been featured in Buffalo's offense sparingly.
Parrish's weaknesses are that he is on a team with several more than capable return men (McGee, McKelvin, F. Jackson). Parrish was also a second round draft choice in 2005 and the Bills' first overall selection that year, yet has failed in four seasons to unseat Josh Reed as the team's clear third option at wide receiver.
Exhibit B: James Hardy
Career RPG ratio: 9 receptions over 14 games = 0.64 rpg
Avg. yards per catch: 9.7
Like Roscoe, Hardy was drafted in the second round. UNlike Roscoe, he was taken to be a big, physical receiver that the Bills could use to exploit endzone matchups for touchdowns. And during his rookie season Hardy flashed such scoring ability when he was in the game.
Hardy's main weaknesses were his adjustment to the pro game and his difficulty learning route running. At Indiana the 6'5" receiver was able to be a weapon mainly from physical stature without learning complicated receiving patterns; Hardy is learning that the NFL is a different story.
Exhibit C: Steve Johnson
Career Rec. to Games ratio: 10 receptions over 11 games = 0.91 rpg
Avg. yards per catch: 10.2
Johnson was a steal in the seventh round last year and ended up showing why in the limited amount of time the Bills played him. He followed an impressive preseason in which he was the Bills' leading receiver with two touchdowns. Johnson played with and starred in the always tough SEC in college and scored game winning touchdowns in big games (Kentucky's games against Louisville and LSU).
Like Hardy, Johnson needs to work on his route running, particularly making sharp and defined cuts. At Kentucky, though productive, he benefited from the presence of other talented playmakers. To be a more productive receiver at the NFL level, Johnson also needs to work on utilizing his size in order to be more physical against press coverage.
What say you?