ORCHARD PARK, NY - MAY 11: T.J. Graham #11 of the Buffalo Bills makes a catch during Buffalo Bills Rookie Camp on May 11, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Marcus Easley was supposed to be the young receiver to watch during Buffalo Bills training camp this summer. While Easley has made his share of plays running predominantly with the second-team offense, it's been rookie T.J. Graham - who has, indeed, seen snaps with the ones - that has become the receiver du jour in Buffalo thanks to a hot start to his first pro training camp.
Seeing sporadic snaps with the first-team offense, Graham pulled off the play of the day on the opening day of camp with an acrobatic reception on a deep throw, and has contributed big plays every day since - with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and head coach Chan Gailey gladly noting his improvement since spring mini-camp.
Now's the time to offer up the usual caveats with a player like Graham: he's still raw, he still has not remotely mastered the nuance of his position, and he's still not going to be much more than a situational player at the outset of his rookie season. Fitzpatrick has said that Graham needs to elevate his physicality so that he's not overly reliant on his speed and quicks getting off the line. Reporters have noted that Graham is still susceptible to dropping an easy pass or two, so consistency is a looming hurdle, as well.
Keeping that perspective in mind, however, it's highly encouraging to hear that Graham is making plays so early in his first camp. (It's also nice to hear how hard he's working to master Gailey's play book.) When you get down to brass tacks, fans spent the off-season arguing about receiver types, but it was simple play-making ability that the team so desperately needed at receiver, regardless of the type of receiver making said plays. If Graham can be a play-maker as a rookie, even in just a situational role, he'll have been a strong addition to the team.
For now, however, he'll have to settle for being the receiver that has nearly made Easley an afterthought to Bills fans.