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Late Speed

So you think it's hard to get a speed receiver late in an NFL draft? Think again. I took a look at the top deep threats in the NFL last year and found that most of them were drafted after the first round. In fact, of the top 20 qualifying receivers in yards per reception, 60 percent of them were taken later than the 50th pick in the draft.

Two of the top three, Malcolm Floyd and Victor Cruz, weren't even drafted. Johnny Knox and Denarius Moore, who were second and fourth in yards per catch, were both fifth-round picks. Only five of the top 20 were drafted in the first round. Four of those -- Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, A.J. Green and Julio Jones -- were taken sixth overall or higher. Demaryius Thomas was taken 22nd overall.

So it seems that if you can't get a surefire stud near the top of the draft, you're better off waiting. Pittsburgh got Mike Wallace in the third round and Antonio Brown in the sixth. James Jones was the 78th pick, Steve Smith (of Carolina) was 74th, Victor Jackson 61st, Torrey Smith 58th.

This should bode well for the Bills, who didn't go for a speed receiver in the first round, presumably thinking they could get one later. Maybe it'll be the 41st overall selection when the draft resumes with Round 2 at 7 p.m. today.

There are some interesting options available, all big, fast wideouts who could step in and help take pressure off the Bills' top receiver, Stevie Johnson -- a seventh-round pick. The top candidates appear to be Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech, Rueben Randle of LSU, Alshon Jeffrey of South Carolina, and Brian Quick of Appalachian State.

 

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