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Buffalo Bills All-Drought team: Strong safety

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Do you have a favorite strong safety from the playoff drought?

The Bills had a solid group of safeties during their playoff drought, but choosing a winner from this group may not be straightforward. Do you give it to the best all-around player, who only had one season with the team? Does it go to the heartfelt underdog who clawed his way to a starting role? Read up on these names and pick a winner.

Lawyer Milloy

A star safety for the New England Patriots, Milloy was released five days before the 2003 season over contract disputes, and the Bills signed him and immediately handed him the starting role at strong safety. Milloy piled up the tackles in Buffalo, with 271 in 43 starts over three seasons. He logged three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and seven sacks during his time with the Bills. After the 2005 season, the Bills released Milloy for salary cap reasons, and he played five more seasons in the league.

Donte Whitner

To replace Milloy, the Bills went back to familiar territory to draft a replacement, with the defensive back Whitner joining the team in the first round out of Ohio State. Whitner became an immediate starter at strong safety, and intercepted Tom Brady in his first career game. He would go on to start 66 games in Buffalo, playing in 69. Whitner never lived up to his draft status in Buffalo, and only notched four interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one sack during his career with the team. In 2008 and 2009, the team experimented with playing Whitner at free safety to take advantage of his athleticism, but it didn’t make much of a difference, and the team let him depart in free agency after five seasons.

George Wilson

Wilson was an undrafted receiver from Arkansas who joined Buffalo’s practice squad in 2004. After three years in the NFL with zero career receptions, Wilson converted to safety. When starting free safety Ko Simpson was placed on injured reserve in 2007, Wilson eventually earned his first starts. He would spend more time as a backup safety, but was the starting strong safety in 2009, 2011, and 2012. In all, Wilson played in 92 games, starting 55, for the Bills.

Wilson was an effective playmaker for Buffalo, with 12 interceptions, 25 passes defended, four forced fumbles, and 3.5 sacks. The Bills sought a changing of the guard ahead of the 2013 season and released Wilson, who signed with the Tennessee Titans for two more seasons.

Aaron Williams

Williams originally joined the Bills as a second round cornerback from Texas in the 2011 draft. The Bills tried him as a starter on the boundary, but his lack of long speed and poor technique on transitions out of his backpedal made him a liability. In 2013, Williams decided to convert to strong safety and had a career season, with four interceptions and a career-high 88 tackles. He returned as the starting safety in 2014 and 2015, but a scary neck injury left him motionless on the field early in 2015, and ended his season early. Williams returned for the first half of the 2016 season, but a blindside hit by Jarvis Landry aggravated his neck, ended his season, and ultimately ended his career.

During his time with the Bills, Williams played in 59 games and started 52. He notched seven interceptions and three forced fumbles.

Micah Hyde

The Bills signed Hyde to a five year free agent deal ahead of the 2017 season. He started every one of Buffalo’s 16 games during that year, helping the team to break its playoff drought. Hyde made the Pro Bowl on the back of 13 passes defended, five interceptions, and 82 combined tackles for the Bills.


Cast your vote: Who was the best starting strong safety of the drought? The runner-up will be available for our flex polls. We’ll continue the voting with Buffalo’s free safeties in the next article.

Poll

Who was the best strong safety of the Buffalo Bills playoff drought?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Lawyer Milloy
    (221 votes)
  • 8%
    Donte Whitner
    (95 votes)
  • 15%
    George Wilson
    (165 votes)
  • 27%
    Aaron Williams
    (292 votes)
  • 27%
    Micah Hyde
    (290 votes)
1063 votes total Vote Now