Khalil Shakir makes most of his playtime opportunity

BUFFALO, NY – This past April, the Buffalo Bills took a wide receiver out of Boise State in the fifth round. Khalil Shakir, who gained notoriety locally as a four-star recruit in the 2018 recruiting class from Vista Murrieta High School, was that choice. When he wrapped up his senior year in Boise, Shakir ranked fifth all-time in career receptions with 208, tied for sixth with 10 career 100-yard games, fourth all-time in history with 2,878 career receiving yards and sixth in receiving touchdowns.

The Buffalo Bills traded their No. 168 and No. 203 overall picks to the Chicago Bears to move up in the fifth round to select the former Broncos’ star wideout (No. 148 overall pick) in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL draft, and now he has officially arrived in Buffalo.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Khalil Shakir, a former Vista Murrieta standout, catches a 24-yard TD pass for his first-ever career score. Valley News/Buffalo Bills courtesy photo

With multiple injuries piling up at the receiver position for the Bills, Shakir was forced into starting action as the team’s No. 3 target this past Sunday, Oct. 9, against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Shakir took full advantage of those missing players, becoming one of Josh Allen’s most targeted receivers in the game. His three catches on five targets landed him 75 yards, including a huge touchdown where he snatched a fluttering ball from Allen, bounced off a defender, and burst into the end zone.

A still healthy Gabe Davis, in his third year with the Bills, was the overall talk of the game though as he played a huge part in what ended as a 38-3 win, catching three passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Also healthy is wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who needed just four words to dryly describe how he thought the Bills rookie class fared on Sunday: “They did all right.”

Diggs paused for a few seconds for laughter before hammering his point to the media. “That’s it,” he added.

Diggs’ analysis aside, two of the Buffalo Bills offensive rookies made Sunday memorable. Along with Shakir, running back James Cook also logged his first NFL touchdown in the Bills’ 38-3  upping of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium.

Between the two, Shakir’s moment came first, a 24-yard touchdown reception just before halftime.

“I just had a shoot route across the field,” Shakir told the media after the game. “They were in man coverage, so I just noticed that and just took off.”

It was an impressive performance from the newcomer, who made the most of his expanded role. He answered the call from head coach Sean McDermott and it’ll be exciting to see if he can build on his success, drawing more targets from Allen even after the other receivers get healthy again. The Bills will travel to take on the Kansas City Chiefs this coming Sunday, Oct. 16, in an afternoon match-up.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.

JP Raineri
JP Raineri

JP is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and head of the Sports Department for the Valley News. Over his time in the Temecula Valley, JP, a former Southwestern League head baseball coach, was also an on-air radio personality at Q103.3, KATY 101.3, Hot 103.9, and was a television host for the Outdoor Channel. When not covering local, or national sports, JP also serves as an Associate Baseball Scout with NSR.