The Buffalo Bills have some tough decisions forthcoming when it comes to deciding which of their deep stable of wide receivers will make the team. Speaking from training camp practice at St. John Fisher, Bills head coach Rex Ryan, in answering a specific question about Deonte Thompson, admitted that other teams have taken notice of Thompson's play this preseason, and have inquired with the Bills about a trade.
"Not just us, but a lot of people have taken notice of him," Ryan said Sunday night. "There have been a lot of calls about him, but we really like what he’s doing here. He’s got great speed, I think that’s something that jumps out at you, (he’s) a sub-4.4 guy. I like how competitive he is. He’s a smaller guy, but he’s very competitive, tough guy. And actually, when he shows up for the special teams deal, he does pretty good. He missed that one play, so I still got to get on him about it, but he’s doing a great job, and he’s certainly turned some heads. We knew we had a deep group of receivers, but as we are playing it out, you’re seeing more and more guys step up, and then it’s going to be really hard when it comes to who you keep and all that type of stuff."
Thompson has been one of the nice surprises of camp, a talented yet unknown veteran player with limited experience that has been productive throughout the summer practice sessions. That has carried over into preseason action, with the 6'0", 203-pound, 2012 undrafted free agent catching four passes for 96 yards and a touchdown on nine targets and 52 preseason snaps thus far. He has been running with the second- and third-team offenses as the sixth receiver through the rotation (when everyone is healthy).
"When people know how deep you are at certain positions, they’ll call you, and some of them, it's like, ‘Dude, that guy’s going to make the team, there’s no question,’" Ryan said. "There’s several like that. Will Deonte be one of them? That’s a real possibility. We’re not just going to, ‘Oh, you want him? We’ll help you out and we’re going to get nothing in return.’ Wrong. That’s not happening. The only way we’ll trade one of our players is if it can help this team. Other than that, we’re going to be selfish, and we’ll keep everyone that we can."
Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Percy Harvin, and special teams ace Marcus Easley are all locks to make the Bills' 53-man roster, and Marquise Goodwin and Chris Hogan, along with Thompson, have a great chance at locking down one of the last two receiver spots on the squad. Thompson's strong camp could put him ahead of either or both of those players in the final cut-down pecking order, but with several quality options, entertaining trade offers would not be a bad idea from a "best thing for the team" angle.