Despite a prolific offense in 2021, the Buffalo Bills are hellbent on trying to improve. The 2022 NFL Draft provided an opportunity for exactly that to happen. The addition of James Cook added a versatile weapon in the backfield. In the fifth round the Bills went wide receiver with Khalil Shakir from Boise State. What will he add to the team? Let’s take a look.
This is a pretty quick note. Overall I liked Khalil Shakir’s concentration making the catch and the use of his hands. This isn’t even the most difficult one I could have shown, with Shakir making catches while getting hit and more.
I think the draft this year had a bit of a pattern for the two skill position players taken. James Cook has been drawing attention for being a pass-catching running back who adds a lot of versatility to a team when he’s on the field. Shakir can play a little running back, and line up pretty much anywhere on the field—and he looks pretty viable for all of the above. In the clip above, Shakir navigates traffic pretty well.
I’m showing a highlight to discuss one flaw with Shakir’s game. This is about as contested of a catch as I’d say I like his odds on. You may have noticed he has half a step on the defense here, making this “not really that contested.” Shakir lacks the size/strength to dominate when challenged any closer. I’ll be the first to say though that there’s zero lack of effort. He’ll give it his all every single play, but at some point physics and size do matter. One positive note here related to that: Unless you actually have him, you better not give up. He certainly isn’t about to.
The effort he puts forward isn’t just apparent catching the ball. Khalil Shakir is roughly the same size as me. My nickname of “Skarekrow” might give a hint on what that means size wise. Effort matters and he seems to punch above his weight class. I’d give him good odds against defensive backs.
On this play, Shakir knows he’s found a soft spot and is begging for the ball. It’s delivered with positive results.
There are some similarities here, but the big differences are the early move to gain a bit of separation and how Shakir finishes. He sticks with the route even with the sideline rapidly approaching. Specifically, I mean there’s no hesitation or change in angle. Shakir stays steady to make the throw easier for his QB.
One phrase comes to mind watching Khalil Shakir: “Jack of all trades, master of none.” There’s legitimately not a single thing where I thought Shakir was truly lacking. Even his relatively poor contested-catch ability is more about realistic physical limitations than skill set.
On the reverse side of that coin, there was not a single moment where Shakir came across as an elite talent in any given area. There’s really one big question remaining then. How does this work for the Buffalo Bills? It could be a great relationship. Khalil Shakir on the field tells the opposition next to nothing about what might be coming. That guessing game—with a quarterback the caliber of Josh Allen—could easily become more valuable than a singular elite skill. If Ken Dorsey has an imagination, it’s easy to like the Shakir addition.