Newly Drafted Bills WR Makes Surprising Statement on QB Josh Allen

Justin Shorter

Getty Justin Shorter

Even before joining the Buffalo Bills at last week’s NFL Draft, wide receiver Justin Shorter had been doing his homework on Josh Allen.

The Bills drafted the Florida wide receiver with their fifth-round pick, adding a big pass target for Allen. Speaking to reporters on April 30, Shorter revealed that he had already been doing some research on the Bills offense and wanted to hit the ground running.

“I’ve watched more games (of Josh Allen) than he probably knows, and I definitely know a lot about him,” Shorter said in a video conference. “Once they called me I asked them for that playbook immediately, so I’m ready to get to work.”

Justin Shorter Motivated to Make an Impact

Shorter may have had a good reason to start studying Allen and the Bills offense before the NFL Draft. Bills wide receivers coach Adam Henry met with Shorter for a private workout after Florida’s Pro Day, and the team later hosted him for a top-30 visit, USA Today’s Bills Wire reported.

As the Bills noted in their write-up on the new draft pick, Shorter was once the nation’s top-rated wide receiving prospect, rated No. 1 in the 2018 recruiting class ahead of now-established NFL receivers like Ja’Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals, Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Detroit Lions and Jaylen Waddle of the Miami Dolphins.

But after falling to the fifth round, Shorter said he’s motivated to prove the league’s other teams wrong for passing him up.

“I’m very competitive by nature,” he said. “I just know every single wideout that went before me and know all the teams that picked them, and I definitely know when I get my opportunity I’m gonna definitely tear this league up because I’ve been working for a long time and it’s going to pay off.”

Bills Giving Good Sign for Justin Shorter

Bills general manager Brandon Beane gave some indications that Shorter could play a significant role for the Bills next season, noting that the team passed up on taking a defensive player because they believed the Florida wideout had a better chance of being on the gameday roster, whether on offense or special teams.

“We probably could have gone either way, we had similar grade on a defensive player but felt like he [Shorter] would definitely get a jersey for sure,” Beane said. “He’s a four-phase special teamer, also gives us another bigger receiver we can develop.”

The Bills have a number of holes to fill both in their wide receiving corps and special teams. They cut ties with speedy slot receiver and return specialist Isaiah McKenzie, and have not re-signed veterans Cole Beasley, Jamison Crowder, and Jake Kumerow after they hit free agency. Kumerow was a core special teams player, along with running back Taiwan Jones, another veteran player who did not re-sign with the Bills after hitting free agency.

The 6-foot-4 Shorter will be the tallest receiver on the Bills roster, and the team noted that he had a knack for testing defenses deep.

“Most of his receptions were deep downfield in his final season with the Gators,” the team’s write-up on Shorter noted. “Evidence of that came in his eye-popping average of almost 20 yards per reception (19.9). That average was good for second most in the SEC.”

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