The Buffalo Bills have locked up all nine of their 2012 NFL Draft selections, including the most recent signing of wide receiver T.J. Graham. Graham agreed to a four-year deal with the financials undisclosed.
Now the question arises as to where Graham will fit into the Bills' Pistol Spread offense. Head coach Chan Gailey has his reservations about the young speedster (4.41 40-yard dash time).
“Everybody else has been here and knows the system. So he’s been struggling to catch on because we’re at an advanced stage and we’re trying to catch him up,” said Gailey. “He’s got a load of talent. We’ve just got to get him caught up.”
If you ask the Bills No. 1 wide receiver Stevie Johnson, he'll give a different answer.
“As much as I can with little things like he’s been thrown into the fire and all that, but he looks good to me,” said Johnson.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick appears to be luke warm on the rookie. “It’s tough for a rookie to come in here. Our offense you need to know all four [receiver] positions,” said Fitzpatrick. “It’s a lot more difficult than going somewhere and playing one position all the time. That being said he’s made big time strides in the OTAs and we’re throwing everything at him.”
Big strides are maybe all the Bills expect out of Graham in the early part of the season. Based on Graham's statements, it sure seems that way.
“I think I’ll fit into a spot. I have to figure out where that is,” Graham said. “Right now I’m just competing with the guys around me. I don’t know exactly what role I’ll play or where I’ll fit in, but I do know they need me to run fast and I can do that.”
With 4.41 40-yard dash speed, he's right: he can run fast. But in order for him to be successful in the league, he will need to not only learn the playbook, but also get comfortable enough with reading defenses so that he's playing football and not thinking football on the field. Once he gets comfortable with the playbook and reading defenses, the game will slow down for the rookie and he will be able to make an impact for a Bills team that looks to be on the rise.