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Bills draft picks could be legit Rookie of the Year candidates

By Tim Graham

This just in from the Unnecessary Added Expectations Department ...

The Buffalo Bills probably have two of the top preseason candidates for 2013 offensive rookie of the year: quarterback EJ Manuel and receiver Robert Woods.

Since the award's inception in 1967, a quarterback, running back or wide receiver has won the award every year. This year's draft was heavy on offensive linemen and feather-light on quarterbacks and running backs in the early rounds.

No running backs were taken in the first round, and Buffalo made Manuel the only quarterback taken Thursday night, the 16th overall selection. Only three quarterbacks were selected through the end of the third round.

A look at the various situations suggests Manuel has the best chance to start this year. Second-round pick Geno Smith joins a crowded New York Jets depth chart that includes Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy. Third-round pick Mike Glennon will be a backup to Josh Freeman with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Woods, the wideout from USC, was the Bills' first second-round pick and the fifth receiver off the board. But he's considered one of the draft's more NFL-ready prospects.

Given the lack of depth behind Stevie Johnson on the Bills' roster, Woods should be an opening-day starter and get plenty of targets throughout the season.

And maybe undrafted rookie Da'Rick Rogers can prove the NFL establishment wrong and show he deserved to have his name called in Radio City Music Hall. The Bills signed the troubled prospect Saturday night. Some scouts believe he has star potential.

Based on opportunities the Bills surely will give their draft picks and the positions they play, you have to put them in the rookie of the year conversation.


2013 draft | Da'Rick Rogers | EJ Manuel | Geno Smith | Mike Glennon | Robert Woods | Stevie Johnson
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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 |