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Khalil Shakir

Breakout coming for efficient wideout?

It's Bills and former Bills wide receiver week here, and I thought I'd take a look at Khalil Shakir. What are the chances he's poised for a Year 3 breakout? There are some encouraging signs.

First, there's the reality that Buffalo doesn't have much at wide receiver right now. There's Curtis Samuel, who I do have some interest in, but then a bunch of guys who haven't done anything notable elsewhere (Mack Hollins, KJ Hamler, Andy Isabella). And Shakir.

There's also the fact that Shakir finished strong. He caught 6 for 105 in the Week 18 win in Miami, then caught touchdowns in both playoff games, including a really remarkable one against Kansas City. Ten catches for 75 yards and those scores in the two contests. Buffalo's willingness to move on from Stefon Diggs is starting to look more reasonable.

Shakir was just a fifth-round pick in 2022, but he was impressively efficient with his opportunities last season. Most notably, he caught over 86 percent of the passes sent his way. That was the best catch rate by a first- or second-year wideout (minimum 40 targets) in the last 10 years. Pretty strong performance.

There have been 31 other wide receivers in the past decade to catch at least 70 percent of the passes thrown their way in one of their first two seasons. I thought I'd see how they fared one year later. There have been some success stories.

Table shows the 32 wideouts to reach that catch rate in one of their first two seasons since 2014. That includes three other players last year: another second-year guy, Wan'Dale Robinson, and a pair of rookies (Rashee Rice, also in the news lately, and Zay Flowers).

Of the other 28 guys, over a third (10) put up top 20 numbers in PPR leagues a year later. Eight of them ranked in the top 10 at the position. I'm not suggesting Shakir is headed for those kind of numbers, but a pretty nice success rate for guys who have shown some competency/efficiency in their offenses those first two seasons.

HIGH CATCH RATE WIDEOUTS, ONE YEAR LATER (2014-2023)
YearPlayerTgtRecYdsAvgTDCtchNextRk
2014Brandin Cooks, N.O.695355010.4476.8%78-1173-810
2014Jarvis Landry, Mia.112847589.0575.0%94-1136-413
2014Kenny Stills, N.O.836393114.8375.9%27-440-382
2014Odell Beckham, NYG13091130514.31270.0%101-1367-104
2014Tavon Austin, St.L.44312427.8370.5%52-473-1027
2015Bryan Walters, Jac.453236811.5171.1%24-231-2103
2015Jamison Crowder, Was.785960410.2275.6%66-789-332
2015Jeremy Butler, Balt.443136311.7070.5%2-11-0184
2015Tyler Lockett, Sea.695166413.0873.9%45-555-356
2016Eli Rogers, Pitt.664859412.4372.7%18-149-1123
2016Michael Thomas, N.O.12192113712.4976.0%125-1405-96
2016Stefon Diggs, Min.1128490310.8375.0%64-849-819
2016Tyreek Hill, K.C.83615939.71273.5%75-1183-88
2017JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pitt.795891715.8873.4%42-552-363
2017Sterling Shepard, NYG845973112.4270.2%66-872-432
2017Trent Taylor, S.F.604343010.0271.7%26-215-1113
2018Cooper Kupp, LAR554056614.2672.7%94-1161-105
2018Ryan Switzer, Pitt.44362537.0181.8%8-27-0165
2019Greg Ward, Phil.40282549.1170.0%7-95-3134
2020Deebo Samuel, S.F.443339111.9175.0%57-802-631
2020Hunter Renfrow, L.V.775665611.7272.7%103-1038-910
2020Jakobi Meyers, N.E.815972912.4072.8%83-866-229
2020Justin Jefferson, Min.12588140015.9770.4%128-1809-91
2020Laviska Shenault, Jac.795860010.3573.4%27-272-295
2021Devin Duvernay, Balt.47332728.2370.2%37-407-561
2021Jaylen Waddle, Mia.14010410159.8774.3%72-1014-434
2021Rondale Moore, Ari.64544358.1184.4%41-414-183
2022Amon-Ra St. Brown, Det.146106116111.0672.6%119-1515-103
2023Khalil Shakir, Buff.453961115.7286.7%??????
2023Rashee Rice, K.C.1027993811.9777.5%??????
2023Wan'Dale Robinson, NYG78605258.8276.9%??????
2023Zay Flowers, Balt.1087785811.1671.3%??????

It's early. Buffalo could still sign or draft someone who pushes ahead of Shakir this preseason. But considering his strong performance late last year, he's definitely on my radar for a 2024 sleeper.

--Andy Richardson

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