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By Joe Buscaglia
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Fitzpatrick: WR Graham's speed is "refreshing"

Outside of Stevie Johnson, many felt that the Buffalo Bills needed to add a receiver to the roster to get the most out of what the offense could do in 2012.

Following an unsuccessful courtship process of free agent wideout Robert Meacham, the Bills were left with the draft to find that player. Passing on the likes of Notre Dame's Michael Floyd in the first round and Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery in the second round, the franchise waited until the third round to take the speedy T.J. Graham out of N.C. State.

After three weeks of Organized Team Activities and one day of mini-camp, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said Graham's quickness is evident. A dimension that's been missing from the Bills' receivers since Roscoe Parrish went down with an injury last season.

"It was nice to see T.J. go out there and make some plays today. He did some good stuff. Every time you see him catch the ball in space you really see his speed," the QB said Tuesday. "It's been refreshing to see him take a hitch, make the defender miss and run down the sideline -- stuff like that."

Graham has been rotating in with the first team throughout the official off-season workouts and has made some impressive plays along the way, most notably down the field. But there's also been times where the ball hits him in the hands and drops to the turf. It's just the pangs of being a rookie wide receiver and trying to commit a new playbook to memory.

"He's still learning it and he's still out there thinking and not playing 100-percent all the time," said Fitzpatrick. "He definitely can add a different dimension to our offense. It's going to be a matter of him getting up to speed and learning things and making the plays when he needs to."

How steep is that learning curve for the former third-round pick, or for any first-year receiver in the Bills' offense?

"It's tough. It's tough for a rookie to come in here," the quarterback replied. "Our offense, you need to know all four positions. It's the way the wide receiver is in our offense. It's a lot more difficult than going somewhere and playing one position all the time."

"That being said, he's made big time strides in the OTA's. We're throwing everything at him. Once we get in to the season, we start game planning and doing those things, it's going to be easier for him to know his assignments, what he has, based on formations and motions and all of that stuff. So we're throwing everything at him right now, and he's doing the best he can."

Graham was part of a rotation of many with the first team during Tuesday's mini-camp, including Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, David Nelson and Derek Hagan.

Twitter: @JoeB_WGR

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Locations : South Carolina
People : David NelsonDerek HaganDonald JonesMichael FloydRobert MeachamRoscoe ParrishRyan FitzpatrickStephen HillStevie Johnson

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