Continuing to tweak the available talent at Turk Schonert's offensive disposal, the Buffalo Bills have signed journeyman TE Teyo Johnson to a contract. If you recall, the Bills last week added FB Darian Barnes to the roster; Johnson's addition is the Bills' second significant signing of this very young off-season.
The 26-year-old Johnson is a four-year veteran who has failed to stick on an NFL roster after switching from wide receiver to tight end as a rookie. The former second-round pick of the Oakland Raiders has three career touchdown receptions, and at 6'6" and 245 pounds, Johnson brings a pass-catching background to Buffalo's pedestrian tight ends corps. As a rookie draft prospect, Johnson ran a 4.58-second 40-yard dash - excellent speed for a tight end.
The official site's Chris Brown is reporting that Johnson, upon hitting the NFL ranks, has "never" been split wide as a receiving threat in his tenure as an NFL player. With a wide receiving background, Johnson does not have the in-line blocking experience of other tight end prospects - and thus, he's been misused during his NFL tenure. If the Bills use him correctly - i.e., off the line, in the slot and in motion - he has a chance to finally realize the vast potential that made him a first-day draft pick. And, as Brown suggests, Johnson may just end up being another bargain basement signing.
Still, Missouri tight end Martin Rucker or a similarly talented rookie would be a fantastic insurance policy should Johnson not pan out. For now, this is a solid January signing that has the potential to be beneficial to QB Trent Edwards - Johnson and Edwards were at Stanford together, albeit very briefly.
Hackett Hired as Offensive Quality Control Coach
Speaking of Stanford connections, the Bills created another such link when they hired Nathaniel Hackett as offensive quality control coach. The son of long-time coach Paul Hackett - who coached in college at Pittsburgh, USC, professionally with the New York and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - spent three seasons on the coaching staff during Trent Edwards' college playing career. While having nothing to do with Edwards' development, Hackett has an obvious familiarity with the Bills' quarterback (as well as offensive coordinator Turk Schonert, himself a Stanford alum), and his coaching pedigree makes him a worthwhile project on a young coaching staff.
We will continue the building of our community needs list tomorrow morning with a discussion of Buffalo's lines.