The Buffalo Bills had been focusing on trenches with their first four selections in the 2021 NFL Draft. That run came to an end with the 203rd selection in the sixth round on Saturday when they selected Houston receiver Marquez Stevenson. The Bills didn’t have a specific need at receiver, but an aging Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley opened the door for the possibility. Stevenson is all about speed.
Stevenson is not a big man, sizing up at 5’10” and 183 lbs, but that’s not why the Bills picked him in the sixth round. He clocked a 4.48 40-yard dash at his pro day, but that was a slower time than many anticipated as he consistently can be seen busting angles in the secondary and sprinting past kick coverage teams as a returner. He’s an older prospect at 23 who offers special teams upside. Stevenson averaged 26.1 yards per kick return in his career with three touchdowns.
The Bills don’t have much room on their roster for sixth-round picks, but Stevenson will give himself a shot to develop with speed to work with. If he can improve his route running at the next level, he could be a part of the rotation as early as 2022. The Bills have been looking for an option as a returner with the departure of Andre Roberts in free agency. The signing of Brandon Powell was one possible solution. Stevenson is a more dynamic version.
The Bills are in position to take any players who have a hope and a prayer of making the team in the sixth round of the draft. Taking Stevenson gives a player a fighting chance. This is tremendous value for someone who still has plenty of room to grow as a future slot receiver option while having the chance to immediately contribute on special teams.