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Buffalo Bills sign linebacker Gerald Hodges

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The former Vikings and 49ers defender visited with the Bills earlier this week.

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Gerald Hodges is the newest member of the Buffalo Bills. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the news on Thursday after Sean McDermott hinted at the signing when he met with the media in the morning. Cornerback Charles Gaines was released to make room for Hodges.

The 6’1”, 243-pound linebacker has a tie to defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, as he was a rookie in 2013 with the Vikings during Frazier’s final season as head coach in Minnesota. He was a fifth-round pick that year.

Hodges, 26, played his first two full seasons with the Vikings, and he totaled 70 tackles, seven pass breakups, and one interception over 25 games and seven starts. Just five of those tackles came in his rookie season.

In 2014, Hodges was on the field for 503 of Minnesota’s defensive snaps (46.4%), and was ultimately named a “Secret Superstar” by Pro Football Focus for his contributions.

He was traded to the 49ers in October 2015. In 10 games for San Francisco, he totaled 49 tackles.

Last season, the Penn State alum appeared in 15 games for the 49ers — making 12 starts — and filled up the stat sheet. He had 80 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble on 50.6% of the defensive snaps.

Here’s some perspective on the athleticism Hodges brings to the field:

Gerald Hodges Athletic Comparables

Category Gerald Hodges C.J. Mosley Zach Brown Lavonte David
Category Gerald Hodges C.J. Mosley Zach Brown Lavonte David
Height / Weight 6'1" / 243 6'2" / 234 6'1" / 244 6'0" / 233
40-Yard Dash 4.78 4.63 4.5 4.65
Vertical 35" 35" 33" 36"
Broad 119" 118" 116" 119"
3-Cone 7.27 7.3 7.26 7.28
20-yard shuttle 4.29 4.4 4.32 4.22

Hodges is a fantastic get for the Bills in May. While he’s never been a “full-time” player during his four-year pro career, he has played in 54 NFL games and has made 219 tackles.

His overall grade of 82.4 ranked 21st out of 87 linebackers in PFF’s system last season.

Hodges projects to the run-and-chase weakside linebacker spot in Sean McDermott’s defense but could see time at any of the three second-level positions thanks to his size, athleticism, and respectable coverage ability.