The Buffalo Bills were scheduled to make their first pick on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft at pick 137, but general manager Brandon Beane was intent on picking up more draft capital. Beane and the Bills made the move to trade with the Washington Commanders, moving back to pick 150 in Round 5, while adding pick 215 in Round 6.
With pick 150, the Bills selected Florida wide receiver Justin Shorter. Buffalo’s interest in Shorter was genuine, having brought him in on an official top-30 pre-draft visit earlier this spring.
Shorter revealed that visit himself via his Instagram stories. Shorter is anything but short — he’s a tall and stacked receiver (6’4”, 229 pounds), whose physical appearance is reminiscent of DK Metcalf. His stature is the prototypical build for a modern NFL receiver, though some analysts wonder if he could become a tight end in the pros. That notion would seem to be off the table for Shorter in Buffalo, where they added tight end Dalton Kincaid in Round 1 of this year’s draft.
“Beginning his college career at Penn State, Shorter struggled to contribute. Prior to his junior season, Shorter transferred to Florida and saw a significant jump in production. As a senior in 2021, Shorter caught 41 passes for 550 yards with three touchdowns. In 2022 as a fifth-year senior, Shorter made 29 catches for 577 yards and two touchdowns.
At this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, Shorter ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash, 1.59-second 10-yard split, with a 35.5” vertical jump and 10’6” broad jump.
There’s much to like about Justin Shorter. It begins with his size and chiseled frame. As a WR2 in the NFL, Shorter is unlikely to be tossed around by defenders. While he lacks ideal production within the frame of five college seasons, it’s clear he needed a change of scenery to unleash his potential. With that change came an offense that relied heavily on the spread, so there will be concerns among some front offices whether Shorter’s Florida production translates well to the NFL.
Does Justin Shorter fit the Bills? For my money, he’s an intriguing prospect who’s really only begun tapping into his full potential. Those concerned about his ability to handle a more complex route tree need only consider the nature of NFL offensive coordinators, who often seek out players that transcend typical. The thought of Shorter potentially converting to tight end could help his draft stock. Teams that might otherwise pass on him, could be lured by the potential to develop an athletic pass catcher at the position. Any team drafting Shorter must have a good feel for how to use him, and likely very little reservation about his resume in a spread offense. No matter what role Shorter ends up playing, he should be a very capable red zone threat. While Shorter isn’t likely to go early in the 2023 NFL Draft, any team that selects him during Day 3 could land a diamond in the rough. Shorter could take the league by storm, with the right coaching and situation.”
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