Naaman Roosevelt isn't the tallest wide receiver. He's not the strongest wide receiver. And he certainly isn't the fastest wide receiver, either.
But there's something about the full-on Buffalo product that makes Bills head coach Chan Gailey perk up.
"He is a great young player," said Gailey. "God didn’t give him a lot of speed. God didn’t give him a lot of size, but he gets the most out of what he has. He is a very good young player and I’m excited to see how he does in the games this year. He did well when we threw him in there last year."
Roosevelt translated his on the field prowess at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute into a scholarship at the University at Buffalo. After starring there, Roosevelt didn't hear his name called on draft day, but quickly latched on with his hometown NFL team.
Injuries through the 2010 season paved the way for Roosevelt to be signed on to the active roster. In six games, Roosevelt started once, and collectively had nine catches for 139 yards through his appearances.
In his second season, training camp has proved that while Roosevelt doesn't have the raw speed and electricity to his game, all he does is catch passes. Though playing at a different position, Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick knows what it's like for Roosevelt.
"Of the three undrafted guys last year, Donald [Jones] and David [Nelson] have a lot of physical qualities that are very special." Fitzpatrick continued, "Naaman is a lot like me, he’s going to maximize his potential with what he’s been given. It’s not like he’s not an athlete because he is. He’s just not going to go out there and play as a 4.3 (speed guy)."
You can find plenty of instances where those speed guys don't end up working out. Troy Williamson, Reggie Williams, Charles Rogers, and etc. But accountability is a heck of a thing, especially to the guys slinging receivers the football.
"He’s such a solid receiver," Fitzpatrick remarked about Roosevelt. "You can put him at any position; you know where he is going to be at all times. That to me is the most important part about being a receiver, is being on the same page at all times and knowing that you can throw a ball and trust that he’s in the right spot."
Although he didn't make the team outright after training camp last year, Roosevelt admits he's a bit more relaxed and focused this time around.
"I just feel I'm better at not thinking so much as I did last year. I just come out here and play football and just playing free."
Despite the high praises from the likes of Gailey and Fitzpatrick, there is a big numbers crunch at wide receiver this year. Stevie Johnson, Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish and David Nelson are likely all locks to make the team. Then there are players like Donald Jones, Craig Davis, Marcus Easley, Paul Hubbard, Felton Huggins, and Kamar Aiken -- in addition to Roosevelt -- that are fighting for two to three roster spots. (Edit note: I consider Brad Smith to be a QB)
But if the UB graduate can continue impressing the higher-ups in the organization, the active roster could come calling this year a lot sooner than it did in 2010.