Don't tell Doug Whaley that seventh round picks don't matter. Last season, Buffalo used their final selection on T Seantrel Henderson. After a myriad of off-field questions surrounded Henderson leading up to the draft, Whaley and his staff took a chance. The former Hurricane rewarded Buffalo as he started all 16 games at right tackle.
This year, the Bills used their last draft selection on Central Arkansas WR Dezmin Lewis. A three-time All-Southland conference selection, Lewis saved his best season for last as he recorded 64 receptions for nearly 1,000 yards in 2014. Although he did not face elite competition, Lewis's measurables caught Buffalo's attention early in the pre-draft process.
"He's been on our radar since the fall and we were excited about him," confirmed Bills general manager Doug Whaley. "And again it's obvious you guys know we're pretty deep at that position but something we don't have is that size wide receiver. So we followed him and tracked him throughout the fall and when he did get invited to the combine we did feel it was a necessity to get him up here and take a closer look at him not only from a physical standpoint, but also to sit down with the coaches and see his mental aspect and aptitude for the game."
Buffalo was only Lewis's official pre-draft visit which led him to believe that he'd end up as a Bill. Lewis believes that with the proper preparation, he has a chance to surprise many and play alongside Percy Harvin, one of his favorite wide receivers.
"I'm going to come in and compete," said Lewis. "Nothing is going to be given to you so my mindset is to come in and learn from the best. Learn from Percy Harvin and from Sammy Watkins since he's already been there. I just want to play my role and get ready. If I am fortunate enough to play by Percy as a rookie that's amazing. I'm going to work hard and show them I can play."
Lewis has an opportunity to make the roster because of his combination of size and speed. At 6-4, Lewis is now the tallest Bills receiver. He impressed many at the combine, posting a respectable 4.58 second 40-yard dash. Before the draft, it was speculated that Lewis would be drafted in the middle rounds. While mildly disappointed that he slipped, Lewis is excited to prove a name for himself with the Bills.
"A lot of the small school guys get overlooked," said Lewis. "I was projected third or fourth round but I had my mindset on sixth, seventh so I didn't fall into getting angry or upset because I didn't go early. I'm just thankful I got this opportunity to be in Buffalo and excited to come up there and make a name for myself."