Which Buffalo Bills Veteran Is The Next Scrap-Heap Contributor?

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 1: Antwaun Molden #27 of the New England Patriots stops Derek Hagan #80 of the Buffalo Bills in the first half at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In his two years on the job as GM of the Buffalo Bills, Buddy Nix has earned a reputation in this fan base as a talent evaluator capable of finding capable starters from the pile of low-end veteran players left on the proverbial scrap heap.

And it's true: three of the team's prominent offensive starters (tight end Scott Chandler, right guard Kraig Urbik and right tackle Erik Pears) epitomize the trend. Chandler was signed after the Dallas Cowboys cut him. Urbik was a waiver-wire claim from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Pears was a street free agent that had previously spent time with the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. There are more examples, too.

This year, Nix again has veteran players in positions on the roster that, if competitions fall their way, could emerge as productive players for the team. (That's not to say that any of them have to, or are capable of, continuing the trend, of course.) Which of these players do you have your eye on? We've got three candidates for you after the jump.

WR Derek Hagan. Hagan, as we've discussed in two separate posts today (this is the third), was brought back by the team on a one-year deal thanks to a four-week stretch to close the 2011 season in which he caught 13 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. He joined the team on November 22, and appeared in his first game just 18 days later, getting a true crash course in Chan Gailey's offense, and finding a rhythm with Ryan Fitzpatrick fairly quickly. With a muddled-at-best picture at the No. 2 wide receiver slot, Hagan has a chance to emerge as a starter - and it shouldn't surprise anyone if he does exactly that.

DE Kyle Moore. A 2009 fourth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Moore made seven starts at the beginning of the 2010 season, but was subsequently released and has yet to record an NFL sack. He's also playing at a loaded position for the Bills after their free agent spending spree, so clearly, Moore's looking at a limited role at best next year, and may not even make the team. But he's an intriguing physical specimen (6'5", 272 pounds) that profiles as a base, run-down defensive end, and could make the team as a depth player with some upside. Like Hagan, Moore made four appearances for the Bills last year, mostly as a rotational player.

LB Kirk Morrison. Right now, Morrison is penciled in as the starting strong-side linebacker for Dave Wannstedt in the 4-3 after signing a two-year contract in March to return to the club. A late-summer addition as an unrestricted free agent a year ago, Morrison was signed to replace Reggie Torbor, who landed on IR during the pre-season. He appeared in 14 games, but did not start a single contest for the first time in his career (he'd started 95 of a possible 96 games prior to that). He's been a productive pro for a while now, and with a starting opportunity in front of him, he could easily return to his productive ways in 2012.

And just for the sake of clarity for the ensuing comment section, here's a list of "low-end veteran acquisitions" not mentioned in this article that you can feel free to expand on below.

TE Kevin Brock
C Colin Brown
TE Mike Caussin
RB Tashard Choice
WR David Clowney
TE Dorin Dickerson
DE Lionel Dotson
DT Jarron Gilbert
DT Kellen Heard
WR Ruvell Martin
LB Scott McKillop
DE Shawne Merriman
CB Prince Miller
TE Fendi Onobun
DT Jay Ross
TE Lee Smith
OG Jake Vermiglio
OG Keith Williams
OT Sam Young
QB Vince Young (/thread)

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