By BBD Writer Eric Samulski
The Battle: 5th and 6th WR
The Participants: Marcus Easley/ Naaman Roosevelt/ Derek Hagan/ David Clowney/ Ruvell Martin
Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, David Nelson and rookie TJ Graham are locks to make the Bills in 2012. With the Bills likely to carry six WRs, and Brad Smith as a seventh and third-string QB, only two members of this list will likely suit up for opening day.
The guy with the leg up right now is Easley. He was touted as the steal of the 2010 draft, but has missed the last two seasons with various injuries, most recently a heart condition that is always a scary thing for an athlete to deal with. Nix is high on his size/speed combo and, if he can prove he is healthy, he brings a play-making element that the Bills WR corps didn’t have last season.
That would leave one spot for the remaining four names. Clowney was signed in the off-season due to his speed, but the recovery of Easley and signing of Graham would limit the need for another deep threat, which would hurt his chances. Ruvell Martin has had multiple chances on the Bills roster and failed to deliver much in the way of production, so I think this really comes down to a battle between Roosevelt and Hagan.
Roosevelt out-performed Hagan last year, however, he did receive more opportunities. Roosevelt is a strong route-runner with solid hands, but barely checks in at six feet. Hagan was a high-upside draft pick in 2006 for Miami, but has failed to put it together at the NFL level. He showed flashes of making his speed work for him last year, and I think he comes into camp as the favorite because of the game-breaking ability that Nix loves to talk about and Roosevelt doesn’t possess. If he shows up consistently during the offseason, he could slide into the last wide receiver spot.