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Stevie Johnson excited to learn who his new WR mates will be

Stevie Johnson is eager to see how the Buffalo Bills will juggle their wide-receiver depth chart for 2013. (Photo: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

By Tim Graham

Stevie Johnson accounted for a preponderance of the numbers posted by Buffalo Bills wide receivers the past two years.

Subtract the contributions from David Nelson and Donald Jones, as the club did when it announced it won't re-sign them, and Johnson practically is on his own.

Of the wide receivers still on Buffalo's roster, Johnson has been responsible for 70 percent of the catches, 74 percent of the receiving yards and 76 percent of the receiving touchdowns in 2011 and 2012.

The Bills clearly are overhauling the position under new head coach Doug Marrone. Johnson is curious to see what will happen.

"From a personal perspective, of course, I don't like it," Johnson told me by phone from California. "Those are my guys. When I ended up taking the reigns as the main receiver, what Donald and David did from being undrafted to taking on a bigger role was pretty cool.

"But you know how the business goes. New coaching staff, new players. It is what it is."

Buffalo's depth chart today consists of Johnson (155 catches, 2,050 yards, 13 TDs the past two seasons), Brad Smith (37 catches, 392 yards, three TDs) and T.J. Graham (31 catches, 322 yards, one TD) along with three players who haven't caught a pass for the Bills: Marcus Easley, Kevin Elliott and Chris Hogan.

"We'll be adding more," Johnson said. "We'll be adding maybe a couple more. I feel like what they're doing isn't without a plan.

"They have a plan. I'm just waiting to see what happens, and I'll be ready for it, ready to do my part, whatever they want me to do. I'm ready for the challenge, as usual."

Buffalo must get receiver help, whether in free agency or in the draft.

Johnson said he has been talking up Buffalo as a destination with notable free agents Dwayne Bowe and Greg Jennings.

Buffalo has the No. 8 pick, a spot that could procure the best receiver in this year's draft class.

Bills General Manager Buddy Nix referenced the need for a tall, deep-ball threat during last season. Tennessee receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter and California's Keenan Allen could fit that role.

"We may get a receiver at No. 8," Johnson said. "If that's what it is, I can't wait to work with the guy. I can't wait to show him new things and learn new things from him.

"At No. 8, you've got to have some type of game to help out a franchise. So I'm looking forward to it."

Nix also mentioned last season that the Bills' offense would be better if they had the personnel to move Johnson into the slot. That was under coach Chan Gailey, though. Marrone declined to address the possibility when asked at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Johnson liked the idea when he heard it last season and still does.

"If a cornerback's got a problem holding me outside, where I got a little bit of space to the sideline and the inside to work," Johnson said, "how are they going to hold me when I'm in the slot, where I've got both ways to work? I feel good about wherever I'm lined up at.

"I want to go anywhere I can benefit the offense. If that means putting me in the backfield and we're going to throw screens or flat routes, OK. Let's do it. If there's anything we can take advantage of, let's do it.

"Inside, outside, left side, right side, it don't matter. I just want to contribute."


2013 draft | Brad Smith | Buddy Nix | Chan Gailey | Chris Hogan | David Nelson | Donald Jones | Doug Marrone | Greg Jennings | Kevin Elliott | Marcus Easley | Stevie Johnson | T.J. Graham
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |