It took some time to reach the first selection on Day 3 for the Buffalo Bills, but they have made their choice at pick No. 150 overall in Round 5 of the NFL Draft. The pick — Florida wide receiver Justin Shorter — is a former five-star recruit who began his career at Penn State. Every team in the country wanted him out of the high school ranks. His career started slow with plenty of drop issues at Penn State, which led to his transfer to Florida.
Shorter never found his footing in college after the insane hype as a recruit. But you can’t teach his 6’4”, 230-pound frame, and having enough speed to threaten in the final third of the field. The Bills needed a backup X-receiver on the roster, and Shorter’s game resembles current starting X Gabriel Davis in many ways. He falls short as a route runner and his massive frame doesn’t come suped up with natural fluidity. Despite the size and recruiting pedigree, his agility fails short and, subsequently, the short-area route running is non-existent. If Shorter does see the field on offense, it’s safe to assume that the massive target will have a bloated average-depth-of-target trying to take the top off the defense in tracking the football.
Shorter gets to come in and develop year one, but he has experience as a gunner on special teams. The Bills brought him in on a top-30 visit and it’s clear they liked what they saw and heard from Shorter. All of a sudden, the Bills have some massive size on the outside to change the math in terms of stalk blocking and moving smaller defensive backs from the picture.
Shorter is useful for now and he may have some developmental upside to live up to a piece of what his potential has been since high school. That’s if he can continue leaning into his strengths of attacking the football vertically with his build-up speed, frame, and NFL offensive tackle-sized arm length.