TC20: 3) Who steps up as Bills No. 3 wide receiver?

Posted at 9:05 AM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-11 09:05:06-04

At the end of the month the Buffalo Bills will reconvene for training camp, in what will be a crucial time for a team that has playoff aspirations in 2016. There are a plethora of questions facing the team as we get closer to the start of camp at St. John Fisher College.

Over the next three weeks leading up to camp, 7 ABC will examine the 20 most pressing questions the Bills have for the upcoming season.

The top two wide receivers are not in question, but after them? Nothing is written in stone, which leads us to the topic:

3) Which wide receiver will win the No. 3 job?

While the Buffalo Bills were zeroing in on addressing their defense in the draft in the first few rounds, some of their fans were clamoring for the addition of a wide receiver to help complete the offense.

Sammy Watkins is the surefire number-one wide receiver, and while Robert Woods has some detractors, the Bills believe in him as the second option from the position. Past them? Your guess was as good as theirs heading into the offseason workouts.

The Bills armed themselves with both players with NFL experience and young prospects in the hopes that one player would separate themselves from the pack.

The veterans include players like Leonard Hankerson, Greg Little, Jarrett Boykin, Greg Salas, Marcus Easley, and Marquise Goodwin. Among the young prospects, the Bills have Dez Lewis, Kolby Listenbee, Gary Chambers, and Davonte Allen.

So, which player will rise up to grab the third job?

Through all the spring workouts, there are three compelling names to keep an eye on as we move closer to training camp: Hankerson, Salas, and Lewis.

With Hankerson, they've got a player that showed he could produce just last year in Atlanta, up until the team released him later in the season. A once promising prospect in Washington, Hankerson may not offer the type of skill-set the Bills are looking for in a traditional slot receiver. However, during the spring, he got plenty of time with the first-team offense (without Watkins available, mind you), and didn't disappoint throughout his opportunities.

A more traditional slot receiver, Salas came to the Bills late in the season during 2015 and even carved out a role in just a few weeks due to injuries. A solid route runner with quick feet, Salas offers something that neither Hankerson nor Lewis do in that respect. He's also in the running to be the team's punt returner, which makes him even more valuable to the roster if he can win that job.

Then there's the darling of the spring, second-year wideout Dez Lewis. Like Hankerson, Lewis spent plenty of time with the first-team offense and made his presence felt while on the field. After struggling with his hands during last spring and summer, Lewis caught nearly everything thrown his way during offseason practices. His height (6-foot-4) make him an intriguing option, especially in the slot, as some teams have been favoring size over speed and quickness with that position.

While it's been nice to see the progress of Lewis -- and a positive summer would vault him into a nice little role with the team, at this point you have to strongly consider Salas to win the job as the third wide receiver for plenty of reasons. He was limited early on in the spring due to an injury, but once he got back on the field, he showed the reason why the coaching staff immediately trusted him at the end of the 2015 season.

Don't forget this fact, either, Salas is a favorite of both wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal, and of head coach Rex Ryan from the time he stepped in immediately with the New York Jets as well. The third wide receiver will be used less with the Bills than most teams do, but Salas' quickness, route running, and hands make him a strong candidate to win that role.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

Bills Training Camp 20 #TC20

1) Is Tyrod ready to take the next step?

2) Who steps up in place of Shaq Lawson?

3) Which wide receiver will win the No. 3 job?