The Buffalo Bills receiving corps has taken a serious hit since the 2015 training camp that saw names like Deonte Thompson and Andre Davis as reluctant final cuts from the roster with excellent practices and game performances.
Percy Harvin went one-and-done with the Bills, his strong start to the season being overshadowed by an injury that had him contemplating retirement. Chris Hogan is headed to New England, having signed a three year deal with the Patriots last week. Robert Woods is entering the last year of his deal and has failed to crack 700 receiving yards in a season. Unless you're counting on Marcus Easley, Marquise Goodwin, or Dezmin Lewis to contribute to the passing game, the Bills are suddenly very shallow behind Sammy Watkins.
Greg Roman's offense doesn't have a crying need for a No. 2 receiver. It's structured around the running game and features plenty of extra tight ends and linemen. Still, there are two elements that could open up the options available to the team - a fast and agile receiver with the ability to burn up yards after the catch underneath the routes run by Watkins, or a big bodied receiver who can make contested catches on the sideline and block down on opponents to spring the running game free.
Enter Laquon Treadwell. The 6'2", 221-pound receiver was the top target at Ole Miss for the last two seasons. In 2014, he was leading the team in receiving before breaking his leg when he was tripped up by an opponent's body against Auburn. The injury required surgery and sidelined him until 2015, when he returned to the field with a vengeance, collecting 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Many analysts consider Treadwell to be the best receiver in this year's draft class. His physical style of play brings comparisons to Dez Bryant or Anquan Boldin, and he's a devastating blocker on the edge (essentially, Robert Woods with twenty additional pounds). He can make contested catches like a number one receiver.
The big question mark, of course, is his speed. Treadwell's 33-inch vertical leap and 9'9" broad jump are well below average, and he didn't run the three-cone drill or the 40 yard dash at the Combine. When he runs at his pro day (March 28), he's expected to be in the 4.65 to 4.75-second range, and that would explain why this receiver could be available when the Bills pick.
Rookie receivers rarely deliver major contributions in the NFL, but with Watkins and Woods starting, Treadwell doesn't need to. He would give the Bills two great blockers on the perimeter, allow Woods to flex into the slot as needed, provide injury insurance, and be able to take over as the second receiver if Woods departs in free agency next year. On the other hand, taking him would mean the Bills have spent their last three first-round picks on receivers.
Read the notes on Treadwell below, watch some games, and vote: Would you draft Treadwell with Buffalo's first round pick?
|Year||School||Conf||Class||Pos||G||Receptions||Receiving Yds||Receiving Avg||Receiving TD||Rushing Att||Rushing Yds||Rushing Avg||Rushing TD|
Watched: Auburn 15, Vanderbilt 15, Florida 15, Oklahoma State 15
A physical receiver with size and explosion, the capability to be the No. 1 target in an offense. Excellent body control, can adjust well to passes without breaking stride and fights off defenders to make contested catches. Very physical runner after the catch, runs with a running back mentality. Blocks like a fullback on the edge, with outstanding situational awareness.
Route running is purposeful, does a great job selling the deep route and has a powerful explosion off the line. Needs to add more deception to routes and make tighter cuts to aid in separation. Long speed is lacking for a receiver. He'll have to make plenty of catches with defenders up in his business. Good thing that's a skill of his.