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The Buffalo Rumblings Podcast: Dissecting the secondary

Led by Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer, and Micah Hyde, this unit should once again be a strength.

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In the latest edition of the Buffalo Rumblings Podcast, John Boccacino and Anthony Marino recap the latest news from One Bills Drive, including a pessimistic national prognostication that has the Buffalo Bills finishing with the worst record in the league at 2-14.

They assess whether LeSean McCoy was a more accomplished running back with the Bills or the Philadelphia Eagles, and then go into an analysis of the secondary, which led by Tre’Davious White and veterans Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, and Vontae Davis should once again be a strength of the team.

Out of the gate, our podcasting duo was surprised to hear such national negativity coming from Sports Illustrated’s The MMQB, which pegged the Bills to earn the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Whether you’re a passionate and optimistic Bills fan or a nervous and pessimistic fan, we can all agree that it is too early to start predicting what the Bills record will be in 2018.

Buffalo Rumblings’ contributor Daniel Bender assembled an impressive analysis of Shady McCoy’s productivity in both Philadelphia and Buffalo. McCoy, one of the best and most dangerous running backs in the league, has certainly been heavily utilized on both teams.

The duo also breaks down the state of the secondary as the team enters their first mandatory minicamp.

One year after replacing the entire unit (Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams, Corey Graham and Ronald Darby), the team drafted Tre’Davious White with the No. 27 overall pick, and the former LSU cornerback led all NFL defensive rookies with 1,052 snaps in 2017 while ranking second in interceptions (four), and third in pass breakups (11).

White was honored by Pro Football Focus as its Rookie of the Year, and according to Pro Football Focus, White was the 21st-best player in the league after allowing just 50.6 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught in the regular season. His overall grade of 92.0 was the highest by a rookie cornerback since the 2006 season.

White and free agent signee Vontae Davis should give the Bills a formidable 1-2 combination at cornerback in 2018.

The safety position is equally strong. Poyer and Hyde both signed as free agents before the 2017 season, and both helped solidify the Buffalo secondary. Poyer had an overall grade of 87.6 from Pro Football Focus after making 95 tackles with five interceptions and six pass break-ups.

Hyde earned a coverage rating of 89.8, the fourth-best rating among safeties in the league. Hyde tied Poyer for the team lead in interceptions with five and finished with 82 tackles, fourth-most on the team. He also had five pass breakups and allowed only 80 yards after the catch, eighth-fewest among safeties with 500 or more cover snaps.

Free agent signee Phillip Gaines and fourth-round draft pick Taron Johnson should compete for the slot cornerback role, replacing the departed Leonard Johnson. Safety Rafael Bush and fifth-round selection Siran Neal should also provide defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier with valuable depth in the secondary.

On paper, the Bills should possess the strongest secondary in the AFC East.

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