blog by Ben Tsujimoto • August 05, 2011 @ 1:36pm
An un-drafted rookie in 2010, Naaman Roosevelt impressed in training camp last year, making the Bills’ practice squad before joining the active roster on Nov. 27 largely due to injuries that crippled the team’s receiving corps. Highlighted by a 7 catch, 74 yard performance against the New England Patriots, Roosevelt was poised and productive in his three game cameo, a staggering accomplishment for a wide-eyed mid-major receiver that wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Unfortunately for University at Buffalo graduate, last year’s diligence doesn’t guarantee a spot on the 2011 roster. Last season, Buffalo kept only five wide-outs in the final 53—the team must trim the roster from 90 to 53 by Sept. 3—and this year, Roosevelt competes against Lee Evans, Stevie Johnson, David Nelson, Donald Jones, Marcus Easley, Paul Hubbard, Felton Huggins, Roscoe Parrish, Brad Smith, Kamar Aiken and now Craig “Buster” Davis. That’s 12 players that will be whittled down to 6—possibly 7 if there’s wiggle room with Brad Smith’s position label (the newly ratified CBA allows a 46th active player on game days, giving teams more flexibility).
With Evans, Johnson, Nelson, Parrish, Jones and Smith almost assured of roster spots, the battle for the remaining slot will be worth watching. Wide receiver is without question the team’s deepest position, and it’s fortunate for Naaman that he’s one of three (Easley and Aiken are the others) with practice squad eligibility remaining.
Despite Naaman’s two touchdown catches in 11 on 11s on the fifth day of training camp—and his instant chemistry with Tyler Thigpen—expect him to open the season on the practice squad, and the Bills’ WR depth chart looking as follows:
Starters: Lee Evans and Stevie Johnson
Third and four receivers: David Nelson and Roscoe Parrish
Gadget specialist: Brad Smith
Fifth receiver: Craig Davis
Special teamer: Donald Jones
Practice squad: Naaman Roosevelt, Marcus Easley
Cut: Felton Huggins, Kamar Aiken, Hubbard