Share this article

print logo

HURRICANE TRACKING LEADS BILLS TO PICKS
MIAMI PASS CATCHERS PIQUE BUFFALO'S INTEREST INSTEAD OF BIG MEN

The Buffalo Bills looked for immediate help for their 27th-ranked passing offense in the NFL draft Saturday.

They selected smurf-like speed receiver Roscoe Parrish of Miami with their second-round pick and then took receiving tight end Kevin Everett, another Miami Hurricane, in the third round.

Both players will have a chance to contribute immediately as rookie targets for new quarterback J.P. Losman.

The 5-foot-9 3/4 , 168-pound Parrish is a quick slot receiver who will have a strong chance to replace Josh Reed as the Bills' No. 3 wideout. He also is a game-breaking punt returner, averaging 16.4 yards per return with two touchdowns for Miami last fall.

The 6-4, 241-pound Everett has excellent speed for a tight end and could see time right away in passing situations. The Bills' top two tight ends, Mark Campbell and Tim Euhus, are recovering from knee injuries.

The Bills did not swing a trade of running back Travis Henry, and the chances of dealing the disgruntled running back appear diminished. Each of the three teams interested in Henry -- Arizona, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia -- drafted running backs on the first day. Bills President and General Manager Tom Donahoe said no teams offered as much as a third-round draft pick, which he said the Bills would have accepted. He said he still held out hope a deal could be made.

The Bills also did not supplement their offensive line on Day One. They passed on Syracuse left tackle Adam Terry in the second round. He went nine spots later, but Donahoe said the Bills did not have him rated near 55th overall. He said the Bills considered Iowa defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and Clemson cornerback Justin Miller at 55. Both of the top two centers in the draft, Chris Spencer and David Baas, were long gone by the Bills' pick.

It looks like either Mike Gandy or Trey Teague will be the starting left tackle. If Teague shifts outside, Ross Tucker would be the starting center.

The Bills had to wait eight hours and 16 minutes to take Parrish. It was the third time in four years the Bills drafted a receiver first or second in the draft. The move also flew in the face of the recent vote of confidence Donahoe gave to Reed, who will enter his fourth season.

Parrish is quicker and faster than Reed. In fact, he's virtually as fast as Lee Evans. Parrish was timed at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro workout. Evans was timed at between 4.35 and 4.41 last spring.

Bills coach Mike Mularkey said immediate impact was a factor in the decision to pick a receiver over an offensive or defensive lineman.

"At the point we were at and the way the (draft) board was falling," said Mularkey, "we just felt like that (pick) was for need and playing right away, making an impact earlier than the linemen that were left."

Asked what he liked about Parrish, Mularkey said, "Speed. Speed with the combination of quickness. Playmaking ability. I think he has the ability to make big plays anytime he touches it. And return ability obviously is there, too."

Only four NFL teams had fewer catches from their backup receivers than the Bills last season.

"We have to improve offensively," Mularkey said. "There's areas within the offense we have to improve on -- that's third down, that's the red zone. We are trying to get better."

Parrish, a Miami native, left college a year early. He was the ninth receiver taken in the draft. Parrish caught 43 passes for a 16.1-yard average with eight touchdowns as a junior.

"When you look at his numbers, they won't say 100 catches," said Tom Modrak, Bills assistant general manager. "They spread it around down there pretty good, and they use a lot of people."

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper had Parrish rated as the sixth-best receiver.

"He is a dynamic and dangerous threat with the ball in his hands, be it via reception or punt," Kiper wrote in his draft guide. "For a guy who isn't real big, Parrish doesn't shy away from contact. He's very tough, and that aggressive, fearless nature makes him seem bigger than he is."

Everett follows in the footsteps of fine Miami tight ends such as Kellen Winslow Jr., Jeremy Shockey and Bubba Franks. He's not as experienced as those three coming out of college. He had 23 catches for 310 yards last season.

On the trade front, Arizona coach Dennis Green told a Phoenix radio station early Saturday the Cardinals had made the Bills an offer for Henry. However, the Bills were not interested in acquiring Cards tackle L.J. Shelton.

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment