Heading into day two of the NFL Draft the Buffalo Bills had their franchise QB of the future but they were seriously lacking weapons for him to utilize. With the exception of a loaded backfield in CJ Spiller and Freddy Jackson, EJ Manuel’s weapons on offense only really included Stevie Johnson and maybe T.J. Graham to an extent. It’s crazy how much a team can change in the matter of a week.
With their first pick in the second round the Bills hit a home run, selecting one of the most NFL ready wide receivers in the draft. In the third they added a home run threat in his own right, and by far the fastest player in the 2013 draft.
Why it Makes Sense: Their second rounder Robert Woods will be a day one starter opposite of Johnson and he’s already begun to draw comparisons to the Bills’ number one receiving threat. Like Johnson, he’s not the biggest or fastest receiver in the world. He is however a terrific route runner, is great at extending his arms and catching balls in traffic away from his body and is great at finding holes in coverage. Though he lacks ideal size, he’s not afraid to go over the middle and take a hit and keep on going forward. He has serious potential to develop into a number one receiver and immediately upgrades the Bills’ lack-luster receiving corps.
Marquise Goodwin, the Bills third round selection, is a name many people hadn’t heard before the NFL combine. Goodwin is an undersized (5’8”, 183 lbs) slot receiver and a four year starter at Texas. His performance in the Alamo Bowl (4 catches for 68 yards and a TD) began to catch the attention of NFL scouts but his Senior Bowl and NFL Combine performances started to draw him comparisons to Mike Wallace. Goodwin finished just shy of Chris Johnson’s record 40 time when he blew away the competition running a 4.27. At Texas he was utilized in the spread formation as a running and receiving threat. He definitely needs some polishing but Goodwin could become the type of dynamic threat the Bills haven’t seen at the receiver position in recent memory. Oh and he finished 10th at the 2012 Olympic Games for Team USA in the long jump.
Who could They Have Picked Instead: The case could’ve been made for a linebacker in the second if the Bills didn’t take Kiko Alonso a few picks after Woods. Several promising tight ends including Vance McDonald and Gavin Escobar were still on the board when the Bills picked in the second but receiver was clearly a bigger need. In the third round a case could’ve been made for Stedman Bailey who has the best hands of any receiver in the draft but clearly the Bills were looking for a more explosive athlete.
Verdict: Honestly, Buddy Nix got both of these picks right. I had a little more of a bias for Bailey in the third because I had an opportunity to watch pretty much every game he played in last year but Goodwin makes a ton of a sense in a fast-paced speed demon offense that already features a couple burners in Spiller and Graham. Both receivers immediately upgrade what has become a much more intriguing receiving corps. Woods will likely start from week one but may have a fight on his hands if UDFA Da’Rick Rogers can control his life outside of football. Either way both receivers are likely to see a good chunk of time in their rookie seasons.