The 2022 NFL Draft is now in the books, and last week the Buffalo Bills improved their already stacked team. They improved their secondary, running back room, wide receiver core, and even added a punter. The Bills drafted wide receiver Khalil Shakir at pick number 148 overall. Shakir could wind up being one of the biggest steals in the draft class, and another late-round diamond for general manager Brandon Beane.
Shakir Being Labeled a Steal Before Even Playing
Brandon Beane traded up 20 spots in the fifth round to land Khalil Shakir out of Boise State. Beane said if he had his fourth-round pick he would have taken Shakir then. He fell out of the fourth and Beane wasted no time to go get the talented receiver that was standing out on his draft board. That led to many Bills fans labeling their newest receiver as a steal. However, the Mafia is not alone. The consensus among those on Twitter, draft experts, and football fans, is that Shakir was a big steal for the Bills. ESPN’s Todd McShay said he had a late-third/early-fourth round grade on Shakir. Pro Football Focus also labeled it one of the biggest steals of the draft, as did the Draft Wire. Being able to get a player the caliber of Shakir in round five is excellent value by Beane.
Shakir By The Numbers
Shakir is 6’0” 196lbs, with 9 ½” hands and 22 years old. He’s a great athlete with speed who ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and a 34.5” vertical jump. Shakir played four years at Boise State; he ranks fifth all-time in receptions with 208, fourth in receiving yards with 2,878 and sixth in career 100-yard receiving games with 10 such games. In his final season at school (2021), he posted career highs in catches with 77, receiving yards with 1,117 and touchdowns with seven. Shakir was a first-team All-Mountain West player in 2020 and 2021. He also can play running back, he had 71 carries for 414 yards and four touchdowns in his collegiate career. In 2021 he averaged 14.5 yards per reception and 6.2 yards per carry. A stat to keep an eye on for future trick plays is that in school he was 4/5 on passing attempts for 20 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Also he had experience returning the ball with 23 career punt returns, and eight career kickoff returns.
How Shakir Fits With the Buffalo Bills
Shakir projects as a long-term slot wide receiver in the NFL, although he can play outside too. That bodes well for the Buffalo Bills, who lost their slot guy in Cole Beasley this off-season. The team signed Jamison Crowder to fill that role, and he will for the 2022 season, but is a free agent afterwards. Shakir will fight for the number four receiver spot this year behind Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, and Crowder. He will be groomed to take over slot duties for the 2023 season. The Shakir pick also doesn’t bold well for main gadget receiver, and backup slot guy Isaiah McKenzie. The Bills signed McKenzie on a two-year deal and he will be back in Buffalo after spending the past few seasons there. Shakir is a Swiss army knife type player just like McKenzie. McKenzie is still likely to make the team, but Shakir could swipe some of those opportunities from him.
Another great thing Shakir possesses is speed. The Bills have some great receivers, but none with threatening speed. Shakir can run those deep routes with his speed, take the top off of defenses and be a deep threat for the big-armed star quarterback Josh Allen. That should help open up things underneath for the other receivers as well. Shakir has great hands, concentration and crafty route running which is always a welcomed addition for the Bills. He will also likely be fighting with McKenzie and Marquez Stevenson for the primary kick returner duties. The Bills were one of the worst teams in the league last year when it came to YAC (yards after catch). Shakir was described by NFL analyst Lance Zierlein as an “Absolute menace with the ball in his hands.” He should help the Bills in the YAC department right away. An already scary Bills’ offense got even better this past week.