The Buffalo Bills’ special-teams unit took a step backwards last season, leading to the dismissal of longtime special-teams coordinator Danny Crossman at the conclusion of the 2018 NFL season. Crossman had served in that role for three different head coaches, as he initially was hired by Doug Marrone in 2013.
With a change at the special-teams coordinator spot, it would seem to follow that a turnover in special-teams personnel would follow; however, that doesn’t appear to be the case with Buffalo. Of the eleven players who led the squad in special-teams snaps last season, eight remain with the team—only Andre Holmes, Logan Thomas, and Ramon Humber have been replaced.
In today’s edition of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we profile one of those core special-teams players remaining on the current roster.
Name: Lafayette Pitts
Height/Weight: 5’11” 195 lbs.
Age: 26 (27 on 9/24/19)
Experience/Draft: 4; signed as UDFA with the Miami Dolphins following the 2016 NFL Draft
Acquired: Claimed off waivers by Bills on 10/25/17
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Pitts signed a one-year deal worth a total of $720,000 this offseason. The deal includes no guaranteed money, and the total value of the contract also represents his salary cap charge if he makes the 53-man roster.
2018 Recap: Pitts was once again one of Buffalo’s core special-teams players. After coming to Buffalo by way of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017, he has been a mainstay on kick coverage teams. In 2018, he appeared on 281 special-teams snaps, which was second only to linebacker Deon Lacey on Buffalo’s team. He also played 83 snaps on defense. In total, Pitts had nine tackles on the year, of which seven came on special teams.
Positional outlook: Pitts finds himself in a suddenly crowded positional group that is far deeper than last season. Along with Tre’Davious White, Buffalo has Levi Wallace, E.J. Gaines, Kevin Johnson, Denzel Rice, Taron Johnson, Cam Lewis, and Ryan Lewis on the roster at corner.
2019 Offseason: Pitts has participated in all offseason activities to date, though little has been written about him.
2019 Season outlook: Head coach Sean McDermott clearly values special-teams pieces, which gives Pitts a very good chance at remaining on the roster. If the team breaks camp with six corners plus a “slash” player in Siran Neal—who is listed as a safety but has worked almost exclusively as a slot corner this spring—Pitts will probably be that sixth corner. He should continue to provide solid play on special teams and adequate depth on defense.