As you have all probably heard, last night Jairus Byrd signed a massive deal with the New Orleans Saints. The Bills resigned Strong Safety Aaron Williams to a four year deal last Wednesday. I've heard many people say that if/when the Bills lost Byrd, Williams could step right in and fill his spot. That's not necessarily true, seeing that Byrd is more of a Free Safety, while Williams is a Strong Safety. That opens a hole at the Free position, possibly leaving the job up to sophomore Duke Williams or veteran Jim Leonard. In my opinion, Leonard played well when he was on the field. Williams really didn't see the field that much is rookie year. Depending on how you look at it, the Bills might have a hole to fill at the Free Safety position before the preseason starts on August 3rd. If the Bills do decide that they need another Safety next to Aaron Williams, here are two of their options in the first round:
Clinton-Dix hails from Alabama, a program that has developed some pretty good Safeties in recent years. The Bills could probably trade down to select Clinton-Dix, though you never know what might happen on draft day. He reminds me a little bit of Byrd, without the outstanding ball skills that Byrd showed right away in the NFL. Clinton-Dix moves well and has good speed for a Safety, more than Byrd had. He ran a 4.58 at the Combine in February. He can cover Tight Ends and help in the run game. He's not elite at either, so I consider him to be more of a balanced Free Safety. The one thing a saw from watching Clinton-Dix is the energy he brings to the field. Although he's not physically imposing, he makes his presence felt. He follows the ball really well and puts himself in good position to make tackles. He might not be a true top ten pick, but if the Bills like him enough, nine is not too high of a reach.
The only other Safety I can see the Bills picking in the first round is Calvin Pryor from Louisville. Physically, he is everything you look for in a Safety. He is built well, but doesn't seem to lose any speed because of his size (he ran a 4.58 40 yard dash, like Clinton-Dix). Pryor is more of a run stopper, something the Bills have needed for years, whether it comes from the Safety position or at Linebacker. He is great at getting to the ball and explodes to the ball carrier. The main concern with him is that he is too aggressive, sometimes over pursuing the play. His hits tend to be a little high, which may cost him a lot of green and 15 yard penalties on the next level. Overall, it would be refreshing to see the Bills add a run stopper, even if it is at the cost of a first round pick.
Both players have a lot of upside at their positions. They have different styles of play, Clinton-Dix being more of a cover guy while Pryor is more of a run stopper. Depending on which one Doug Whaley prefers might be the Bills pick. They might also decide not to go Safety altogether. I just thought I'd put this together in case anyone was wondering who our first round possibilities are. If anyone has any questions or comments I'd be happy to answer them. As always, Go Bills!