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State of the Buffalo Bills Defense: Skilled Positions



Several weeks have gone by since the Buffalo Bills’ season officially ended, and it’s still almost as painful as it was on the fateful January day. Nevertheless, heading into Super Bowl weekend without our team in the picture yet again is a pain we are used to feeling as Bills fans. As we have reflected on the season so far, it is evident that the Buffalo Bills’ offense needs to make changes in their skilled positions and their offensive line. But, so does the defense. They are equally at fault for the team’s performance throughout the season and postseason, and need to be held accountable.


Bills S Depth Chart:

Jordan Poyer: FA

Micah Hyde: 2024

Dean Marlowe: FA

Jaquan Johnson: FA

Cam Lewis: FA

Jared Mayden: 2024

Damar Hamlin: 2025

Ironically, the Buffalo Bills current safeties are the least “safe” in terms of returning to the 2023 roster. However, after the team’s recent hiring of former Texans safeties coach Joe Danna, the team hopes to shed some light on this issue.

One of the scariest parts of the Buffalo Bills’ defense in the offseason is the possibility of losing the team’s veteran safety, Jordan Poyer. While he has been an integral part of the Bills defense in recent years, the soon-to-be 32 year old will likely command a good chunk of change in order to stay. If money wasn’t an issue, we can assume the Bills would keep Poyer in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

While Micah Hyde’s return next season is hopeful, safety is definitely a position the coaching staff should keep an eye on in the 2023 NFL Draft. Hyde will be the only returning starter for the team, which is a hole we can be sure the Bills will want to fill.

The Bills also cannot be too certain of Damar Hamlin’s return. The 24-year old has demonstrated his incredible strength both on and off the field, and while he is young and under contract for two more years, his return to playing professional football is unknown.


Bills CB Depth Chart:

Tre’Davious White: 2026

Kaiir Elam: 2027

Dane Jackson: RFA

Christian Benford: 2026

Taron Johnson: 2025

Siran Neal: 2025

One of the last times we saw Tre White on the field was the Divisional Round game against the Bengals, where he was being assessed for a head injury following his collision with Poyer. The Bills are certainly lucky to have him for a few more years, as well as Kaiir Elam.

The rookie CB stepped up in a big way during the Bills’ Wild Card game against the Dolphins. Elam made a key interception in that game to help the team secure their win. The 21-year old did not have the easiest rookie season either. Spending time as a healthy inactive is not ideal during a rookie campaign, but Elam kept working and proved himself worthy of a spot on the team’s roster.

Starting in all but two games and recovering from a neck injury this season, Dane Jackson played a larger role in the Bills defensive skilled positions. The resilient former seventh-round pick worked well with the team’s other CBs during their adverse season. We can hope the Bills will hold on to him moving forward, but does the growth and development of Christian Benford make Dane expendable?


Bills LB Depth Chart:

Matt Milano: 2025

Tremaine Edmunds: FA

A.J. Klein: FA

Terrel Bernard: 2026

Tyrel Dodson: RFA

Tyler Matakevich: FA

Baylon Spector: 2026

As the discussion of underrated NFL players continues, Matt Milano is always in the conversation. After hearing the All-Pro LB’s post-game speech after the Division Round loss, we know Milano has poured his heart and soul into this team, and will not take an L as an answer.

Tremaine Edmunds is also another significant part of the conversation. As a free agent in the 2023 offseason, the Bills will have a big decision to make. At just 25 years of age, Edmunds has some leverage over Poyer in terms of longevity with the team and commendable salary.

The Bills signing of former Carolina Panthers coach Al Holcomb as the team’s new senior defensive assistant also brings some hope to the Bills defense. With 14 years of NFL coaching experience, and even a few years working with our very own Sean McDermott, perhaps Holcomb can help strengthen the team’s defense to the point it needs to be at.

Defending Our Turf

The Buffalo Bills defense has a plethora of unanswered questions this off season: Will they re-sign Poyer or Edmunds? Will Joe Danna or Al Holcomb make a difference? What about the salary cap? The list goes on and on. One thing we do know is that the Bills coaching staff will do their best to defend our turf again next season, and build the strongest defense possible, within budget.

Anyways, happy Super Bowl weekend. Go Eagles!

Featured Image: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

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