The Buffalo Bills selected Connecticut wideout Marcus Easley in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, but he never played a down last season. Easley was injured during training camp, and when doctors found evidence of old injuries in his knee, they decided to fix the damage, ending his rookie season before it began. Despite never playing even a pre-season game in the pros, Easley is getting some major praise this off-season from some of his teammates.
The Bills also signed three undrafted free agents a year ago. David Nelson, Donald Jones and Naaman Roosevelt all contributed in Easley's absence. In addition to the depth of the first-year players, Stevie Johnson had a breakout season, while Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish were steady veterans until season-ending injuries sidelined both. In short, the Bills have lots of depth at the wide receiver position.
Earlier this off-season at workouts in Arizona, Johnson was the first to comment on Easley, telling Buffalo radio station WEDG that Easley looked like "a beast."
"He’s big and he’s fast and he still has all his speed," continued Johnson. "Now he’s comfortable with his routes. When he first came in he looked like a kid right out of college. I think after seeing how we ran our routes with Lee and Roscoe and myself with David (Nelson) and Donald (Jones) he picked up on it. He looks like he’s about 270, but he's actually 220 or 225. He’s big and fluid in his routes. I want to see what he’s about in pre-season, because he’s looking real good."
Easley's size has been a hot topic of discussion. When I asked fellow receiver David Nelson about Easley last week, it was the first thing he mentioned.
"He's looking big. We saw him in Arizona and he showed up looking jacked up," said Nelson. "Some of the guys gave him a hard time about it. It just shows he's working hard. It shows he's been in the weight room working hard and pushing himself."
"He's a beast, I can tell you that," said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick this weekend in an appearance on WGR 550 in Buffalo. "He's a really big guy. I think he plays with a lot of strength as well."
Nelson also mentioned that Easley has lost a little weight since meeting up at Camp Fitz in April, when Johnson made his initial comments.
"[Easley] wasn't there last week in Buffalo when we were working out, but I saw him at the end of last week when he got back into town," said Nelson. "He looked like he had lost some weight a little bit. He said he didn't want to be that big, and that he was trying to lose a little weight. Guys get too big, too fast."
No matter what weight he is playing at, both Fitzpatrick and Nelson think he can make a major contribution to the Bills this year. It may be tempered by the extended work stoppage, though.
"He's a guy that is raw," continued Fitzpatrick. "He hasn't had a lot of work at receiver. He's a guy is willing to do it. He came out to work in Arizona and looked really good. The thing that got me about him - he's a big guy but he's still got the top end speed that is elite in this league. He's a guy that's probably been hurt a lot by us not having OTAs and minicamp, but I know he's been working his tail off to try, and we're just going to have to get him up to speed as fast as possible once this gets going."
Nelson added that Easley is healthy following his surgery in August, and can't wait to get going.
"His knee's 100% and I think he's really excited about the season, said Nelson. "He, more than most, is itching to get out there to show what he can do. I'm excited to see what he can do for us."