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Predicting Early Winners of Biggest Position Battles at 2024 NFL OTAs | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Written by on May 16, 2024

Keon ColemanJames Gilbert/Getty Images

We’ll shift gears a bit for this final position battle because it’s more of a Triple Threat match than a head-to-head contest.

After trading away Stefon Diggs, the Buffalo Bills and quarterback Josh Allen are looking for one of the wideouts on the roster to step up and become the team’s No. 1 receiver. Heading into OTAs, the three favorites to win the job are rookie Keon Coleman, free-agent signing Curtis Samuel and three-year pro Khalil Shakir.

Coleman is likely the favorite heading into the spring practices after being Buffalo’s top draft pick in April. Also, he was described as a “throwback X receiver” by B/R’s Derrik Klassen in the former Seminole’s scouting report. Part of the reason for that is he’s excellent on contested catches to be a go-to target for Allen in the “gotta have it” situations.

Then there’s Samuel, who is a good route-runner to create separation. That’s a big reason why he was able to accumulate nearly 1,300 receiving yards and eight touchdowns over the last two seasons despite the Commanders’ unstable QB situation. He’s someone Allen can trust to win and get open in one-on-one situations.

Finally, Shakir proved to be an up-and-comer a year ago after recording over 600 yards despite only making 10 starts. He has impressive short-area quickness to be a reliable slot receiver and safety net for quarterbacks.

Even with all of that, the Boise State product’s biggest competitive advantage might be that he’s the only one of the three who has familiarity with Allen.

Prediction: Shakir enters training camp as Bills’ top receiver

While Coleman may end up taking over this role once the fall comes around, it’s reasonable to expect he’ll have a bumpy transition to the NFL as that’s the case with just about any rookie.

Pivoting to the veterans, Samuel and Shakir, the latter’s experience working with the team’s starting quarterback gives him a significant advantage. Also, year three is often when wideouts find their stride in the league.

So, don’t be surprised to hear some buzz about Shakir over the next month or so.

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