The Buffalo Bills signed two safeties in free agency. One of those safeties, Micah Hyde, has been written about as being one of the more important players on the defense. The other, Jordan Poyer, is a bit more of a mystery. With the lack of depth the Bills have at the position, both men will be relied upon tremendously throughout the season. How is Poyer managing to fly so far under the radar, then?
If you search Poyer’s mentions on twitter, not much comes back. There are some articles about his lacerated kidney, which was the injury that ended his 2016 season after only 6 games. There’s an interview with Chris Brown and Ryan Lasal (of ROC Sports Network) where teammate Ronald Darby refers to Hyde and Poyer as “the Splash Brothers.” There’s even a few tweets about Poyer intercepting Tyrod Taylor in practice on August 6. Otherwise, it’s as if the presumed starting free safety for the 2017 Buffalo Bills is a ghost, with little digital “ink” devoted to his name. Is this a cause for concern?
Think about his role in head coach Sean McDermott’s cover-3 defense. As the free safety, he’ll often play a “deep centerfield” role. With Hyde serving as the “move” piece in the secondary, Poyer’s role will probably be more similar to that of former Bills’ safety Jairus Byrd. This will allow Poyer to make some plays on balls thrown deep, but it may keep him from helping much in run support and the intermediate passing game, especially if the rest of the players in front of him are doing their jobs well. When former NFL safety Matt Bowen, who ended his playing career with Buffalo in 2006, broke down the cover-3 defense for Bleacher Report in 2014, it included a still of the Carolina Panthers defense coordinated by Sean McDermott. The free safety was so far off the line of scrimmage that he is cut out of the picture. The whole article is worth a read.
While there hasn’t been much written on Buffalo’s 26-year old safety not named Micah Hyde, it doesn’t mean that the team or its fans should be concerned about Poyer. He is healthy, and his experience at multiple positions in the defensive backfield bodes well for his success in this system. Poyer’s signing could go down as one of the more underrated moves of the 2017 free agency period.