At the start of Buffalo Bills training camp, GM Buddy Nix was telling reporters that he was looking for a reliable fourth safety, and he backed that talk up by pursuing free agent Jim Leonhard soon thereafter. While the team still may be looking for that fourth safety, one player has risen to the top of that group with haste.
Delano Howell, an undrafted free agent rookie out of Stanford, was all over the field in Friday night's pre-season loss to the Minnesota Vikings, as he got extended playing time alongside Da'Norris Searcy with the second-team defense. He recorded three tackles and a fumble recovery and showed off good instincts, earning rather ardent praise from head coach Chan Gailey after the game.
"I tell you what, now, he's done some good things," Gailey said. "I told him on the sideline before the game that he's really picked it up and done a good job. He's making a real run at this thing. He's been impressive the last three weeks."
Howell has flashed potential in both pre-season games - a pretty remarkable feat considering that Stanford's academic schedule prevented him from joining the team through the majority of off-season OTAs. It's still no lock that the Bills keep a fourth safety that's currently on the roster - Howell still has work to do, as they say - but it's clear that if they do, Howell's their man.