The Buffalo Bills have two very interesting training camp position battles at quarterback and wide receiver, as Kevin Kolb and E.J. Manuel are competing for the chance to start right away with Robert Woods and T.J. Graham fighting it out for the No. 2 job opposite of Stevie Johnson. Woods is a highly touted rookie who starred for the USC Trojans in college, but it is difficult to get a read on whether or not he has the edge over Graham. Both wide receivers are talented, but my money would be on Woods to start in two receiver sets. He can succeed as a “Z” receiver, but I also see him kicking inside during three-wide sets to make room for Graham on the outside.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Woods (10) reacts to a play during training camp practice at St. John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Chalk up Kolb as somebody who is extremely impressed with the rookie wideout, and he had some huge praise for Robert Woods. Per the Bills official site, “Stud. I mean, legitimately a stud. I’ve bragged on him a lot in the last two days and really through camp. I mean, what I see from him, I’ve been with some really good rookie receivers. I mean some really good ones.
My prediction is that the Bills start Kolb initially, because they want to start the QB that gives them the best chance to win now. Manuel still needs some seasoning, and Kolb is a better quarterback than some people think (though it is a stretch to actually call him “good”). If Kolb does start for the Bills, then Woods’s value just shot up. It already seems like Woods is becoming a favorite target of Kolb’s, and that partially has to do with the kind of quarterback Kolb is. He’s more precise on the short and intermediate routes than somebody who can make long throws, and Woods is excellent on intermediate routes with sure hands, a high football IQ, and probably the best route-running of any rookie receiver.
It’s easy to fall in love with Woods and want to immediately tab him as the Bills No. 2 receiver, but Graham definitely has a chance at starting over Woods. My pick to be the No. 2 receiver is Woods due to his innate route-running, and Kolb is expecting some big things out of him as a rookie.