Going from undrafted free agent to one of the final members of a 53-man roster in less than five months is no easy task. Yet, former West Virginia University and now Buffalo Bills wide receiver Daikiel Shorts finds himself in that very position.
As we know, Shorts does not have the blazing speed of Shelton Gibson or the height and athleticism of Kevin White. He does however have sure-hands and the ability to get open.
In each of his final two seasons at WVU, Shorts led the team in receptions. After two preseason games with the Bills, Shorts leads the team in receptions (6). Also, his 59 receiving yards is first among wide receivers and second on the team only behind tight end Nick O’Leary.
Even though 6 receptions and 59 receiving yards might not jump out at you, some of Shorts receptions do. On more than one occasion during this preseason, Shorts has shown great concentration and hands.
Another factor working in Shorts favor, other than his quality preseason play, is how depleted the Bills wide receiver corps has become.
Over the last two weeks the Bills traded away their top wide receiver in Sammy Watkins, lost Anquan Boldin to retirement and Rod Streater to injury. Streater’s injury status isn’t 100% clear but after being carted off the field in Week 2’s preseason game, there’s reason to believe it’s serious.
The Bills did acquire wide receiver Jordan Matthews in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles but he’s currently week-to-week with a chest injury. Right now there’s hope Matthews will be ready for Week 1 but it’s no guarantee. If the injury lingers, it may force the Bills to keep an additional wide receiver on their 53-man roster.
So far Shorts has done well in this uphill battle but will need to close out the preseason strong in order to leave a lasting impression on the coaching staff. Based on what we’ve seen out of him so far this preseason, there’s reason to believe he’ll do just that.