Buffalo Bills 2013 Breakout Candidate: T.J. Graham
Coming into the 2013 NFL Draft, many pegged the Buffalo Bills as a team desperate to add another weapon to a relatively lackluster receiving corps. Outside of Stevie Johnson, the Bills were really devoid of another productive wide receiver in the passing game. In fact, the team’s second-most productive wideout in 2012, Donald Jones, is now a member of the New England Patriots. To make a long-ish story short, Buffalo could certainly use some help on the outside of its offense in 2013.
Currently listed as the second wide receiver on the Bills depth chart heading into the 2013 NFL season, T.J. Graham could be the proverbial knight in shining armor for new head coach Doug Marrone’s offense. After Jones, Graham was the team’s next in line as far as productivity is concerned at receiver and has reportedly shown nothing but positive signs heading into the 2013 season.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that he was just a rookie last season?
His familiarity with the speed of the game as well as more complex pass patterns will certainly come in handy as he enters his second year in the league. At OTAs, Graham looked the part of a player ready to make that leap to the next level in his second season. According to the team’s website, the receiver has the right attitude too as he said:
“I understood what I had to do for an NFL game or a practice – what things to work on. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You’ve got to pace yourself.”
Despite his potential, the Bills still added a bevy of receivers to compete with Graham in April’s incoming crop of rookies. Robert Woods from USC, who was widely regarded as the best route runner in the 2013 draft class, was drafted in round two, Marquise Goodwin, who ran a blazing 4.27 40-time at the NFL Scouting Combine, arrives via round three, and controversial boom-or-bust project Da’Rick Rogers was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee.
What these rookies don’t have that Graham does now is NFL experience, and that can prove to be invaluable. Whether it is rookie E.J. Manuel or veteran Kevin Kolb starting under center, the Bills’ signal caller will need a second option to go to when Stevie Johnson is covered on the outside. Graham was labeled as little more than a straight line speed guy last season, but if his progress in OTAs is any indication, 2013 could be a completely different story.
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