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State of the Bills Roster: Strong Safeties

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Can Scott keep starting SS role? (Getty Images)

The "State of the Bills Roster" series trucks on! If you're new around these parts within the past nine months or so, this series is an off-season progression of posts in which we'll break down Buffalo's roster in-depth. From these discussions, we'll put together a "Community Needs List" in priority order, then begin researching potential free agent and draft acquisitions that will satisfy all of the Bills' needs as we perceive them.

We continue our foray into heavy-duty off-season work at Buffalo Rumblings right now. It's our "State of the Roster" series, off-season mode, and we'll continue the discussions by breaking down the Bills' situation at strong safety.
  Previous installments: QB :: RB :: TE :: WR :: OT :: G/C :: DE :: DT :: MLB :: OLB :: CB :: FS
  New: Prioritized Offensive Needs List

Opening statement
First, a quick review: due to developments during the 2008 season as well as some logical inference, we included Donte Whitner in our assessment of the team's free safety position. Why? Because he spent a lot of time there this past season, and because there's a hypothesis that he'll stay there next year. For that reason, only two players will be reviewed at this position - and, unsurprisingly, it's an area that is stable, but hardly remarkable.

#43 Bryan Scott (starter)
  6'1", 219 pounds
  Age: 28 in April 2009
  Contract status: 1 year remaining on undisclosed contract.
- Let's make one thing perfectly clear: when the Bills moved Whitner to free safety, it wasn't in an attempt to increase his production, it was so Scott could get more playing time. Throughout his two years in Buffalo, Scott has been largely unheralded, but he's been one of Buffalo's most consistent defenders. He'll never be a superstar or even a difference-maker, but he is a dependable tackler with good size, and he has shown the ability to match up with and contain some of the game's best tight ends (see: Gates, Antonio). He deserves a shot at a full-time safety role after finishing fourth on the team in tackles in '08.

#29 John Wendling
  6'1", 222 pounds
  Age: 26 in June 2009
  Contract status: 2 years remaining (UFA after 2009); owed $1.01M in base salary.
- Wendling likely won't ever be a contributor defensively for the Bills, for two reasons - he doesn't have great range, and he's the prize pupil of special teams coordinator Bobby April. He shouldn't be counted on as reliable depth next season, but he's a heck of a special teams guy.

The Breakdown
Keepers: Scott, Wendling. Scott very well could be the starting strong safety on opening day next year. Wendling isn't going anywhere as long as April is on this staff.

Extendables: None.

Expendables: None.

What we need: Just like the free safety position, don't expect any change here. Scott is dependable and Wendling is one of the core members of April's vaunted special teams units. Clearly, neither of these guys is special, but not every position has to be elite. If the Bills can fix their pass rush issues and Scott can stay healthy, the Bills will be absolutely fine at the strong safety position.

That's it. I'm done with the easy stuff. Now it's on you, folks. How much SS do you see Whitner playing next season? At 28, is Scott one of the Bills' more underrated signings of the past three years? Do you want to use this analysis as another launching point for some Whitner hate? Have fun with this, and let's get brainstorming.