Buffalo Bills' Buddy Nix Envisions Stevie Johnson As Slot Receiver

Matt Sullivan

Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix envisions Stevie Johnson as an ideal slot receiver and T.J. Graham as a high-upside "outside" guy. All that is missing? A "bigger guy" that can catch "when he's covered."

In his regularly scheduled Friday morning radio appearance on WGR 550, Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix made some pointed comments about the wide receiver position and how he envisions the group shaping up moving forward.

Nix's commentary on the position was brought forth by a question about the impact of losing injured slot receiver David Nelson, who has been on Injured Reserve all season with a knee injury. The GM admitted that Nelson's absence has hurt before revealing his more startling opinion on that particular position.

"We're going to put somebody else in there," Nix said. "I think Stevie Johnson is a guy that really fits the slot well."

Johnson, who signed a lucrative five-year contract extension last March, is in danger of posting three-year lows in receptions, yards and touchdowns as the No. 1 (read: predominantly lined up outside) receiver in Chan Gailey's offense. If Nix gets his way, Johnson will be playing more inside, where his exceptional route-running would be a much bigger asset.

"We didn't have a true slot," Nix said of when Nelson went down. "You need somebody in there with some exception, and (Nelson) had the great height."

The only other Bills receiver that Nix mentioned by name in the interview was rookie T.J. Graham - and he did so in, again, startling fashion.

"We need a big-time outside receiver. T.J. gives us a lot of that," Nix said, "but you still need to get another, bigger guy that can line up out there and catch the ball when he's covered."

Graham, who made his first career start in a Week 13 win over Jacksonville, has 24 receptions, 236 yards and one touchdown this season. He is without a doubt, however, the most athletically explosive receiver that the team employs - and if the team can find its large, athletic complement to Graham on the outside, Nix believes that the Bills will be set at the top of their receiver depth chart. They just need to find that elusive target first.

"We're certainly looking at wide receiver," Nix said.

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