The Buffalo Bills selected just one offensive skill position player during the 2021 NFL Draft, Marquez “Speedy” Stevenson from the University of Houston. Despite being a sixth-round pick, the 23-year-old wide receiver is already proving to be a huge threat to the Bills’ offense.
After Buffalo selected Stevenson as the No. 203 overall pick, Bills’ wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie seemingly reacted with an oddly cryptic tweet. Instead of using words, McKenzie tweeted out three emojis: face-to-palm, stressed-out face, and a welcoming hug.
— Isaiah McKenzie (@_IsaiahMcKenzie) May 1, 2021
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It remains unclear what exactly McKenzie meant with his tweet on Saturday, it’s certainly possible that these emojis were shared for reasons entirely unrelated to the NFL Draft. However, there’s no denying that Stevenson has the skills to create serious competition for Mckenzie’s job — not as a receiver, but as the Bills’ main return man.
WGR 550’s Sal Carpaccio reported on May 1, “Stevenson is expected to be immediate competition with Isaiah McKenzie and Brandon Powell as the team’s primary return man.”
It’s easy to understand how Stevenson earned his “Speedy” nickname. He clocked a 6.76 three-cone drill during his Pro Day and claimed his 4.45-second 40-yard dash was lackluster due to the heavy winds that day, according to the Bills Wire Nick Wojton.
At Houston, Stevenson ran three touchdowns as a return man. The 6-foot receiver’s best shot of nailing down a position on the Bills’ 53-man roster will likely be via special teams, according to Wojton surmised.
Stevenson’s NFL Career was Nearly Derailed After Suffering Back-to-Back Injuries in College
Born in Shreveport, Lousiana, Stevenson told Go Long‘s Tyler Dunne that he received offers from Nebraska, Notre Dame, Miami, and Mississippi, but chose Houston because he wanted help build up a smaller school. However, the minute he arrived at Houston, nothing went his way.
During his first preseason camp, Stevenson broke his collarbone, an injury that kept him out for the entirety of his freshman year. Upon his return, Stevenson tore his ACL.
After I tore my ACL, I’m thinking, ‘Should I really have come to Houston?’ So I was questioning a lot of things. It made me realize: Football doesn’t last forever. I was questioning myself. Because I never got injured in high school. And my first two seasons in college were season-ending. Now, I’m like, ‘Dang! What’s going on? Am I not living right?’ I really had to look at myself in the mirror but everything happens for a reason. So I knew once I could get on the field, I’d be able to showcase.
During his first game back, “Speedy” caught five passes for 107 yards and scored a touchdown. He finished the season with 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2019, Stevenson caught 52 passes for 907 yards, clocked another nine touchdowns. In 2020, he brought the stadium down by returning a kick 97 yards for the score.
“That’s my weapon,” said Stevenson. “That’s my No. 1 thing. That’s what people can’t teach — speed.”
For those who’ve never heard of Stevenson, the receiver says he prefers it that way. “I like being under the radar so when I pop up the first time, everybody will be surprised. Everybody who knows me knows what’s going on. I’ve never been the attention-seeking kind of guy. I just know I always work and you can never overlook work ethic.”
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