The Buffalo Bills have quite an intense battle going on for the No. 2 wide receiver position. Wideouts Marcus Easley and T.J. Graham figure to be in the conversation. Donald Jones hopes to gain back the job injuries stole from him. However, the journeyman that is Derek Hagan has other plans for the Bills offense.
Without a doubt, Stevie Johnson is the Bills best receiving threat. With surgery limiting Johnson's mini-camp availability, the Bills have been able to see what the rest of the receivers have to offer. And for some reason, Hagan is looking remarkably consistent.
Hagan had a great collegiate career attending Arizona State. During his senior season in 2005, Hagan was the Arizona State Offensive MVP, a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the nations best receiver and gained All-American recognition. This led to the Miami Dolphins drafting Hagan with the 82nd pick of the 2006 NFL Draft.
He had stints with the Giants and Raiders before landing to an injury plagued Bills squad in 2011. However, the Bills soon realized Hagan had more potential than an injury fill-in player. Basically a four game stint turned into a successful trial as he was re-signed this offseason. Not only is Hagan a Bill in 2012, he may be a key contributer to the offense.
Hagan is turning some heads with his mini-camp performance.
He has shown reliable hands and has made steady strides with Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has flown under the radar and has made some good plays down-field. But this actually shouldn't come as much of a surprise to Bills Nation.
Though Hagan only registered 13 catches in his four games last season, he played fantastic against the Bills number one nemesis: the New England Patriots.
He recorded seven catches for 89 yards during that Week 17 game. It appeared that Fitzpatrick was extremely comfortable with him even though the chemistry wasn't extensive between the two. Hagan made plays down the field and showed steady hands that game.
Derek Hagan has the benefit of a complete offseason to work with Fitzpatrick and the Bills. He consistently catches the ball and has the capability to be a playmaker. Not only will he take coverage away from Stevie Johnson if he plays well, he will give Fitzpatrick another sure handed target.
With the likes of David Clowney, Naaman Roosevelt, Donald Jones, Marcus Easley and T.J. Graham competing for the No. 2 spot, there is no reason that Hagan cannot quietly take the job and run with it.