clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bills’ rookie WR Khalil Shakir proving he belongs on the field, not just the roster

Big impact from the fifth-rounder?

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

When the Buffalo Bills drafted Boise State wide receiver Khalil Shakir in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, it was widely regarded as a draft day steal. His performance in Bills training camp has only reinforced that idea, and instead of fighting for a roster spot, Shakir may be carving out an actual role in the game day offense.

“I mean, 10 [is a] special kid,” Dion Dawkins said after practice on Friday, referencing Shakir’s jersey number. “[General manager Brandon] Beane knows what he’s doing. Beane got the right guys here. 10 is 10 and 10 will be 10 and 10 will show up multiple times after another, after another, after another. That’s a promise.”

On Thursday, Shakir was running with the ones and he and Josh Allen hooked up for a pretty touchdown. Shakir has been sprinkled in with the starters from time to time at St. John Fisher.

“He’s done a pretty good job in terms of learning the offense,” Allen said about Shakir on Thursday after practice. “He’s been switching up from Z [position] to F. Smart kid, runs some really good routes so it’s good to see him getting some reps with us and producing. I’m excited about him. I really am.”

Working with the third-team on Friday night during the “Return of the Blue & Red” practice, Shakir had one of the highlights of practice with a difficult adjustment on a back shoulder throw for a touchdown. The whole offensive sideline came down to congratulate him, including QB1.”

Shakir was also the first player through on punt returns Friday night, with Marquez Stevenson hurt and Tavon Austin not practicing. If he lands that role, he’ll already be active on game days and could find himself in the lineup as the fourth receiver.

I’ve been saying all offseason that Jamison Crowder’s contract guarantees would likely keep him on the roster. He’ll cost $2 million whether he’s on the team or not, but if Shakir continues his strong camp, the Bills might have an honest-to-goodness roster decision to make on Crowder. That $2 million guarantee won’t be enough to keep him on the roster if he’s outplayed by the rookie.