The Buffalo Bills’ safety depth chart has been remarkably stable since the 2017 season. Five seasons ago, the team brought in a pair of fantastic free agents—Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde—who have stabilized the position and turned into All-Pro caliber players in the process. Poyer and Hyde have helped establish the team culture that been a staple of head coach Sean McDermott’s philosophy.
In a league that stands for “Not For Long,” things can’t last forever. Both Hyde and Poyer are now on the wrong side of 30 years old and will become more and more expensive to keep around. Even if the team keeps them around for a couple more seasons, it would benefit Buffalo to start investing in younger options, considering their only depth at the position is a couple sixth-round selections in Jaquan Johnson and Damar Hamlin. To that point, here are some of the prospects who would make sense for that kind of role.
Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)
Daxton Hill (Michigan)
Lewis Cine (Georgia)
A big, smart and explosive player on the backend, don’t let Hamilton’s somewhat underwhelming 40-yard dash time at the combine fool you. He would be fantastic in any defense. While Hill doesn’t have great size at only 190 lbs, his coverage ability is corner-like and despite his size he’s not afraid to come down into the box and hit runners. Cine looks much better with the ball in front of him, acting like a heat-seeking missile. Unlike Hill, Cine offers much better size for the position as well.
Jaquan Brisker (Penn State)
Jalen Pitre (Baylor)
Brisker has some issues with his football IQ in coverage that he needs to work on, but he’s one of the more versatile safeties in the class thanks to his combination of size, speed and length. Although Pitre needs to clean up his tackling technique and doesn’t necessarily offer as much athleticism as some of the other names above, his ability to blitz is uncanny in this draft class.
Bryan Cook, (Cincinnati)
JT Woods (Baylor)
Nick Cross (Maryland)
Kerby Joseph (Illinois)
More of a pure coverage player, Cook nonetheless wasn’t very productive in college despite his very good athletic traits. Perhaps the most physically gifted player in this years draft, Woods is 6’2” and ran a 4.36 40-yard dash. He will need to put on some weight and learn the nuances of the position. Cross is a gambler in coverage and was productive in college because of it. Too often, his approach led to bad plays, and he trusts his first read far too often. Another example of a pure coverage safety, Joseph struggles at tackling and playing the run. He does offer the athleticism to play in a single-high role.