Byrd has yet to sign his one-year, $6.916 million franchise tender, but assuming he signs prior to the start of the season, Bills fans know what to expect from him. Byrd is one of the best safeties in the league, and Buffalo’s defense should immediately benefit from his strong play and ball-hawking skills upon his return.
In Pettine’s defense, there’s a good chance that Byrd will have his best season yet, which would force the Bills to either franchise him again or sign him to the large contract he seeks and truly deserves.
Towards the end of the 2012 season, Searcy was cutting significantly into George Wilson’s playing time at strong safety. In February, the Bills took the next step to getting Searcy more playing time by officially releasing George Wilson.
Searcy did well in coverage last season and is strong against the run. There’s little doubt that Searcy should start the season at strong safety, but his play will dictate if he can hold off his competition.
The former cornerback was finally moved to safety entering his third NFL season, and it could salvage his young career. Simply put, Williams didn’t cut it as a cornerback.
If Byrd is not back for the first week of the season, Williams could be thrown into starting lineup immediately at free safety. While that would be a surprise, Williams will likely be eased into the lineup, spelling the starters from time to time.
Fourth-round pick Duke Williams also has a chance of playing significant reps immediately for the Bills. The former Nevada strong safety is a hard hitter with excellent speed. Duke Williams’ playing time at safety will be dependent on his training camp and preseason play.
Meeks was selected by Buffalo in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL draft. Safety is a bit of a question mark for Buffalo, so Meeks should make the team, but it wouldn’t come as a big surprise if he was cut. He was underwhelming at Clemson but does have good speed. If Meeks makes the roster, he would probably contribute only on special teams in 2013.
Silva received some time with the first-team defense at safety at OTAs, according to Mark Armstrong of BuffaloBills.com. Silva played in seven games for the Bills in 2012 and finished with two tackles. If Buffalo keeps five safeties, Silva could compete with Meeks for the job.
Dangerfield, an undrafted rookie, was a three-year starter at Towson. Dangerfield played physically in college, but his chance of making the 53-man roster is slim.
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Tags: Aaron Williams, Buffalo Bills, Crezdon Butler, Da'Norris Searcy, Defensive Backs, Duke Williams, Jairus Byrd, Justin Rogers, Leodis McKelvin, Nickell Robey, Positional Preview, Ron Brooks, Stephon Gilmore