Bills Add WR With ‘Blistering’ Speed After Breakout Season

The Buffalo Bills have continued to add speed and versatility to their wide receiver room after the NFL Draft, landing a player who can also provide some competition for their kick return duties.

NFL insider Aaron Wilson reported on X that the Bills signed former Tulane wide receiver Lawrence Keys III as an undrafted rookie free agent. The Bills already used their top draft pick on Florida State receiver Keon Coleman and have continued to add talent through undrafted free agency.

Speedy Receiver Logged Breakout Season in 2023

Keys spent his first two collegiate seasons at Notre Dame, making a total of 18 receptions for 185 yards across the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He then transferred to Tulane and saw an immediate jump in production, making 30 receptions for 296 yards and two touchdowns in 2022.

Keys had a breakout season in 2023, making 33 receptions for 599 yards and seven touchdowns. He was also the team’s primary kick returner, taking 23 returns for a total of 624 yards, a 27.1-yard average.

Lawrence Keys III @LawrenceKeys_ ➡️ Upstate NY to play for the @BuffaloBills #BillsMafia #NFLDraft2024 #ISAFamily

Agents: @Blessedagentrb @agentbardia pic.twitter.com/jJJtFZGo73

— ISA Sports & Entertainment (@isa_management) April 28, 2024

After transferring to Tulane for his final collegiate season, Keys earned some praise from Rene Nadeau of Crescent City Sports for his “blistering” speed and skill.

“Keys has blistering speed with a 10.3 seconds timed in the 100 meters and 4.35 in the 40-yard dash,” Nadeau wrote. “He is a punt returner extraordinaire who also has a good catching radius as a receiver. Keys makes acrobatic catches, excels on crossing routes and blows past single coverage.”

Keys will have the chance to compete for a depth role in Buffalo and could have an advantage in the return game, especially after the league implemented new rules emphasizing kick returns over touchbacks. The Bills released wide receiver Deonte Harty, who served as the primary kick returner last season.

Bills Rounding Out Wide Receiver Corps

After trading No. 1 receiver Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans and watching No. 2 Gabe Davis leave in free agency, the Bills took some steps to add new talent to the position. After drafting Coleman with the first pick of the second round of the NFL Draft, the Bills also signed former Ohio State wide receiver/running back Xavier Johnson Jr. as an undrafted free agent.

The versatile Johnson is coming off a six-year career with the Buckeyes, including a final season where he made 26 receptions for 329 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 353 yards and a touchdown.

Analyst Lance Zierlein of NFL.com noted that Johnson “lacks a definable position” and would likely see time on special teams while finding a role to play on offense.

“He has good size but average speed and explosion,” Zierlein wrote. “He had enough field vision to handle kick returns and some carries at Ohio State, and his best position might be at running back instead of receiver. Either way, he’s not polished enough to make a team as a backup skill-position player alone, so he must become an ace on special teams to play on Sundays.”

The Bills have also made some veteran additions to their receiver room, signing former Washington Commanders pass-catcher Curtis Samuel and former Atlanta Falcons receiver Mack Hollins.

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