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91 players in 91 days: Wide receiver Nick Easley

The second-year man faces a long road to the final roster

Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane has made a concerted effort over the last two seasons to improve the team’s wide receiver group. The Bills only have three players in their pass-catching group on the roster this year who were with the team in 2018. Wide receivers Robert Foster and Isaiah McKenzie, the latter of whom was added late in the season via a waiver claim, and tight end Jason Croom are the three players who remain—and none of them are locks for the roster this season.

The receiver group now stands as one of the most talented positional groups on the whole team. That is obviously a stark contrast to the group from just two years ago that “boasted” a top line of Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, and Andre Holmes. Buffalo has provided quarterback Josh Allen with plenty of weapons entering his third season.

In today’s installment of “91 players in 91 days,“ we profile one of Buffalo’s longshot receivers—a slot player who is most likely auditioning this summer for a role on another team.

Name: Nick Easley
Number: 86
Position: WR
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 203 lbs.
Age: 23 (24 on 1/14/2021)
Experience/Draft: 1; undrafted following 2019 NFL Draft
College: Iowa
Acquired: Signed with Bills as UDFA on 4/27/19

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Easley’s contract is a two-year pact worth a total of $1,396,500, of which $6,500 is guaranteed. If Easley makes the final roster, his salary-cap hit is $613,250.

2019 Recap: Easley spent training camp with the Bills, and he made a strong impression with his route running and good hands early on. That never really translated to playing time in preseason games, however, as he was unable to break into a crowded rotation. He saw a significant amount of time in the preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings, though, catching four passes for 41 yards in the contest. He was released as part of the team’s roster cutdowns, then signed with Buffalo’s practice squad in October. He remained on the practice squad for the rest of the season.

Positional outlook: If the receiver room was crowded last year, it’s jam-packed now, as the Bills have plunged considerable draft resources into the position this offseason. The team selected Gabriel Davis in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and they also added Isaiah Hodgins in the sixth round. Oh, and if you hadn’t heard, they also traded their first-round choice this year to the Vikings for Stefon Diggs—adding another top-flight receiver to veterans John Brown and Cole Beasley. With kick returner Andre Roberts, big-bodied Duke Williams, and Swiss-Army Knife Isaiah McKenzie back in the fold, along with speedster Robert Foster and versatile Ray-Ray McCloud III, Easley faces another long battle towards the final roster.

2020 Offseason: Nothing new to report here.

2020 Season outlook: The top four wideouts are pretty sure bets here, as it would take an injury or a massive scandal to see Diggs, Brown, Beasley, and Davis off the roster. That leaves Easley battling for one or two spots with a host of players who have more experience and special teams versatility, or a greater draft pedigree, than he does. Easley should once again be a priority practice squad signing at the end of the summer, but he isn’t someone I’d expect will make the final roster.