The Buffalo Bills depth chart at wide receiver is currently Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, and a lot of unknowns. Chris Hogan, last year's third wide receiver, has moved on to the New England Patriots. Percy Harvin is still an option but he hasn't determined if he's going to play in 2016. That leaves the Bills with eight options currently on their roster.
If the Bills don't select a wide receiver high in the 2016 draft or sign Harvin, who wins the third wide receiver job? Here's how I see the battle shaking out.
No Chance of Winning Job
Powell is listed as a wide receiver on Buffalo's roster but he was simply signed last year for special teams. In his career, Powell has 13 punt returns and 11 kick returns, but zero receptions. There's no reason to believe that he'll be on Buffalo's opening day roster.
Easley has been with the Bills since 2010. In his entire time with Buffalo, Easley has three receptions that have resulted in 71 yards and a touchdown. Easley isn't just going to turn it on this year and emerge out as the team's third wide receiver. The main reason Easley has stuck on Buffalo's roster is due to his outstanding special teams play. Easley, one of the league's best gunners, has a chance to stick on the roster in 2016, but that may depend on how well he heals from a gruesome injury.
Easley dislocated his knee cap and broke his knee in three spots at the end of last year. There's a very good chance that Easley is not ready to play in any capacity at the start of the year.
Prediction: Reserve/PUP to start season
The Bills have given Goodwin their blessing to focus on making the Olympics in Rio. That's all well and good and it's terrific PR for Goodwin and the team, but it does nothing for Goodwin's chances of winning the third wide receiver job. He's expected to miss the offseason program and could miss a good portion of training camp if he makes the Olympics.
While missing time leading up to the season will hurt Goodwin's chances, missing time on the field has been Goodwin's biggest issue. Goodwin has not played in a full season since being drafted by Buffalo. His games played has dropped each season (12, 10, 2) and he's recorded 20 receptions for 349 yards and three touchdowns.
It's doubtful that the Bills would feel confident about Goodwin lasting the entire season as the team's third receiver. He has a shot to make the roster in 2016, but it's doubtful that he wins the No. 3 receiver job.
Prediction: WR5/WR6 or cut
Lewis has good size at 6-feet-4-inches tall, but he's still a very raw prospect. Unless he makes great strides from his first season, there's no scenario where the Bills name Lewis as their third receiver.
Prediction: Practice squad
Little did not appear in any games last season and he's only played in six games since 2014. The only reason that he's in the "final four" is that his career stat line is better than any of the other receivers competing for the job. In his career, Little has caught 161 passes for 1,890 yards and eight touchdowns.
While the overall stat line is the best of the bunch, 155 of the 161 receptions came from 2011-2013. Little's biggest issue has been dealing with drops. During his tenure with the Browns, the wide receiver had 23 drops.
Much like Little, Boykin did not record any stats in 2015. Boykin was signed by the Carolina Panthers in the offseason in 2015 but he was cut on September 1. Before his short stop in Carolina, Boykin had played with the Green Bay Packers for three seasons. In 39 games (11 starts), Boykin caught 57 passes for 731 yards and three touchdowns.
Although Boykin hasn't produced much in terms of stats since 2013, he has one thing working in his favor. Boykin played with Tyrod Taylor at Virginia Tech from 2008-2010. The duo is familiar with one another and it's possible that they still have some chemistry together from their college days.
Boykin has a shot to win the third wide receiver job, but he may be more likely to stick as one of the team's last receivers.
Hankerson signed a one-year deal with the Bills after playing one game with the team last year.
In 2015, Hankerson recorded 26 receptions for 327 yards and three touchdowns with the Falcons before being placed on the injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. The wide receiver had a decent three week stretch with the Falcons, including one 100+ yard outing, where he caught 15 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
For his career, Hankerson has caught 107 passes for 1,408 yards and nine touchdowns. Hankerson, much like Little, Boykin, and Salas, has good size (6'2") and his current track record gives him a legitimate shot to win the third wide receiver job.
Salas made a good first impression with Buffalo. He appeared in two games in 2015 with the Bills and performed well in Week 17 against the Jets. The receiver caught three passes in Week 17 for 41 yards and also recovered a fumble early in the game. Although those stats may not jump off the page, all three receptions came on third down plays that resulted in first downs for the Bills.
It was clear that Salas picked up Buffalo's offense quickly and that benefits him greatly as he competes for the third wide receiver job. Also working in Salas' favor is the fact that he's worked with Bills wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal during his time with the Jets.
Salas' most productive season came in 2011 as a rookie with the Rams and he's bounced around in the league, but Salas has a great shot of winning the third receiver job in Buffalo.
Although the job is open for the taking, I see Salas and Hankerson currently having the inside track at winning the job.null