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Bills' depth at WR: a second look

Coming off of a 2008 season in which the Buffalo Bills - for what seems like the hundredth year in a row - lacked offensive firepower, the team is still searching for a difference-maker on the offensive side of the ball.  Even though the team has some solid young talent in QB Trent Edwards, runners Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson and WR Lee Evans, the team still lacks the one consistent threat to provide the glue to a cohesive, consistent offense.

I've seen some fans here hinting (some more loudly then others) that the Bills should acquire a WR this off-season. Whether through free agency or the draft, the talk of adding a WR to the roster made me think of an article that I wrote up a while back discussing the depth and potential of the Bills' WR corps. Approximately six months after the article was penned, a lot has changed.

Lee Evans
"Lee Evans is Lee Evans, a solid, borderline true blue #1 receiver."

That remains true and despite a hefty raise in the meantime, there are still some questions about whether or not Evans is the #1 WR the Bills need.

Josh Reed
"Josh Reed is an average at best receiver (I'll say at best an average receiver to make Superfan82 happy)."

This remains true, and while I think Reed really showed his importance to the team last year, he is still most valuable when playing in the slot rather than the outside.  He should be upgraded - on the outside.

Roscoe Parrish
"Roscoe is a terrific slot receiver."

I'm not as high on Roscoe as I was six months ago. He remains a top notch return man, but I am really uncertain just how much he really helps as a WR. If I'm replacing anybody right now, Parrish is the odd man out.

James Hardy
"The Bills' second round draft choice out of Indiana has the size and ability to be a huge playmaker in the NFL. He could be starting opposite Evans before the year is out, and probably will be sooner than that."

Well, Nostradamus I am not. I still think Hardy can be a player in this league, but his knee injury is a big obstacle to overcome. I'm not counting on getting a whole lot out of him in 2009, but I'm not cutting him either.

Steve Johnson
"The second of the Bills' three seventh round draft picks this year, Johnson displayed good size and hands during the preseason and earned himself a roster spot for his efforts."

Johnson has become somewhat of a fan favorite and right now is showing more upside than Hardy. I think Johnson will have a much bigger role next year due to the Hardy injury and the ineffectiveness of Parrish.

Justin Jenkins
"A special teamer a year ago, Jenkins saw limited time at the end of the year and has distinguished himself as a special teams ace, as well as a guy who can play the position of receiver - something that Aiken could never do."

Having been recently re-signed, Jenkins will be in camp again, but he is going to have to prove that he can be a player on offense, not just special teams, if he wants to make this team again.

Felton Huggins
"I'm writing this under the assumption that Huggins will make the practice squad, given that he was there last year. Huggins looked just as good as Johnson did this pre-season, and if the Bills had chosen to keep Huggins over Johnson I don't think any of us would have been totally shocked."

Krytime recently gave Huggins the "kiss of death", so I'm not really expecting much out of him anymore.

Other notables:

P.K. Sam - Known more as a kick returner than a WR, Sam could push Parrish with a good camp.

C.J. Hawthorne - Hawthorne spent the whole year on the practice squad learning the offense. At 5'11" and weighing 168 pounds, he is another guy who could push Roscoe.


So what do we really have? A starter in Evans, a slot receiver in Reed, guys in James Hardy and Steve Johnson who are a bit of question marks, then what? Some practice squad fodder and potential return men. That is it. Maybe adding Kenny Britt isn't that crazy.