It took longer than expected, but Khalil Shakir’s name was finally called Saturday morning.
With the fifth pick in the fifth round (No. 148 overall), the Buffalo Bills selected Shakir, making him the 21st receiver off the board in one of the deepest drafts for wide outs in history.
“I talked to the Bills a lot through the pre-draft process,” Shakir told reporters Saturday. “In the back of my head, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the talks I had with the Bills. I guess it was a match made in heaven.”
Making the pick even better: Shakir will now be catching passes from All-Pro gunslinger Josh Allen. Ironically, there’s some familiarity there. During Shakir’s freshman year, Boise State got a victory on The Blue over a Wyoming squad led by Allen.
Shakir became just the third BSU wide-out drafted in the last decade (Cedrick Wilson Jr. in 2018 and John Hightower in 2020). But with his selection, Boise State has now had a guy drafted in each of the last 13 drafts and an offensive player taken now in nine straight years.
Shakir’s emergence in the lexicon of national football pundits has been an ongoing process.
During his senior season in the blue and orange, the shifty Shakir caught 77 passes for over 1,100 yards and 7 touchdowns. He parlayed that with an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl and helped drive up his stock even after running a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the combine.
“After the Senior Bowl, (I could’ve) sat there like, ‘Damn, did I do enough? Did I not do enough?’” Shakir said after his Pro Day in March. “I try not to think like that. I just go out there and do what I do, just showcase my talents.”
That’s what he’s going to be asked to do in Buffalo and what he’s proven to do at every level.
He entered high school as a twig, so slight that his coach at Vista Murrieta thought it might be a safety concern having Shakir on the field. It didn’t matter much. He still zoomed past some of the best athletes in Southern California, eventually bulking up and signing with Boise State as a four-star prospect.
Shakir jumped into the starting lineup as a sophomore before solidifying himself as one of the most dangerous weapons in the Mountain West as a junior, averaging over 100 yards a game in a pandemic-shortened season.
“You think of catch radius and you think of the big 6-3, 6-4 wide receivers,” BSU safeties coach Kane Ioane said. “Khalil is a guy who is 6-foot who can make the catch over here, behind him, I mean he’s made some of the most phenomenal catches I’ve seen in person.”
Still, NFL teams felt there were 20 receivers better than Shakir in this draft. Those in Boise might struggle to believe that. But his draft position is a moot point come Sunday. By then, Shakir will be back doing what he’s best at: Competing.
And when he’s doing that, it’s tough to count him out of anything. Shakir has, as his high school coach put it, a “killer mentality.”