6 strengths added to the roster in free agency

Posted Mar 10, 2017

There was a handful of talent added to Buffalo's roster when the free agent market opened on Thursday. Here are the qualities the Bills newest additions will bring to the squad.

Buffalo added a total of six free agents to their roster over the last two days. A pair of fullbacks, a kicker, swing guard and a pair of safeties. Here are five strengths the new collection of talent brings to the Bills roster.

1 - Versatility
This is chiefly in the form of the signing of defensive back Micah Hyde. In a league where you need your safety to have the range to cover a deep half and the cover skills to come down on the line and handle a slot receiver, Hyde has all of that and more.

The fourth-year DB has played both strong and free safety and has a healthy amount of experience as a nickel corner. That level of versatility will help defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier enormously in his subpackages this fall.

And oh by the way if special teams coordinator Danny Crossman needs help on returns. He’s got over 100 returns in his NFL career.

2 - Double edged sword
For the first time in a while the Bills have a kicker with a big leg. What does that mean? It means Stephen Hauschka is going to be able to handle field goal attempts and kickoffs. Hauschka helped the Seahawks rank 12th in the league in touchback percentage last season with a 64.3 touchback percentage.

In previous years Buffalo took up a pair of roster spots with a kicker and a kickoff specialist.


3 - Leadership
From Mike Tolbert’s vast experience as a locker room leader to Micah Hyde being a team captain with the Packers, Buffalo acquired quality leadership for its roster. Hyde will be capable of running a secondary and being one of the pre-snap orchestrators on defense.

“Just the ability to run the defense and be that quarterback in the secondary was big for us,” said head coach Sean McDermott.

Tolbert’s leadership represents a veteran presence in the offensive backfield and potentially on special teams as well.

“I had the chance to be around Mike for a number of years in Carolina and I know what he brings to the table in terms of leadership, intangibles and what happens in that locker room on Monday through Saturda,” McDermott said.

4 - Playoff pedigree
Between FB Pat DiMarco, FB Mike Tolbert, K Stephen Hauschka, S Micah Hyde and G Vladimir Ducasse there is an enormous amount of playoff experience. These players have been in NFL environments that have taken that next step and knows the commitment necessary to reach the postseason.

Hyde has been on a perennial playoff contender in Green Bay. Ducasse reached the postseason in Minnesota in 2015. DiMarco was part of Atlanta’s run to the Super Bowl last season. Tolbert was part of Carolina’s run to the NFC title in 2015. And Stephen Hauschka has kicked in two Super Bowls and won a championship.

5 - Line depth
Vladimir Ducasse is a player that has admittedly bounced around the last few years in the league, but offensive line coach Juan Castillo worked with Ducasse last year in Baltimore. He clearly had input in bringing him to Buffalo.

Capable of lining up at both guard positions and with more than 80 NFL games under his belt, Ducasse represents steady and capable depth behind starting guards Richie Incognito and John Miller.

Ryan Groy filled that role last year, but his emergence last year may have him challenging for a starting role somewhere on the line this summer after seeing time at tackle, guard and center in 2016.

6 - Specialists
Not counting Hauschka, the Bills added four players who have special teams experience. DiMarco, Hyde, Poyer and Tolbert have all worked on return and coverage units in their NFL careers.

The fact is there were holes to fill not only on offense and defense with all of the expiring contracts on Buffalo’s roster, but special teams as well.

That need was effectively addressed with most of Buffalo’s player agreements Thursday.