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Bills add LB and safety

Posted Oct 14, 2009

Down a pair of linebackers following the season ending injuries to Marcus Buggs and Kawika Mitchell the Bills addressed the holes on their roster Wednesday signing free agent linebackers Chris Draft and veteran safety Todd Johnson.

A veteran of 10 seasons in the NFL, Draft (5’11” 232) played his last two NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams. In 2008 he appeared in 12 games making nine starts including the season finale at middle linebacker when he led the team with a team-high nine tackles.

The 33-year old spent the offseason with the Rams, but was released coming out of training camp this summer.

Draft has played all three linebacker positions in his time in the NFL and is expected to provide some valuable experience to a suddenly young linebacking corps with 88 starts and appearances in 142 games in his career.

The Bills also made an addition to their defensive backfield signing veteran safety Todd Johnson. Now in his seventh NFL season Johnson spent the past two seasons with the St. Louis Rams after beginning his career with Chicago. 

Johnson (6’1” 200) has 22 career starts as he’s been a reserve safety and key special teams contributor for most of his career. In 2008 Johnson appeared in 14 games and made three starts for St. Louis and had a season-high seven tackles in the Rams’ season finale.

Having played under Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell in Chicago, Johnson has good familiarity with Buffalo’s defensive scheme and philosophy. He is expected to provide veteran depth at the safety position with Bryan Scott and Donte Whitner still on the mend from injuries.

The signing of Johnson should allow rookie Nic Harris to return full time to linebacker after spending the past two weeks practicing at safety due to the aforementioned injuries at that position.

The two roster spots became available after Mitchell and Buggs were placed on injured reserve.

LB added to practice squad
Buffalo made one other roster move on Wednesday, signing free agent linebacker Anthony Waters to their practice squad.

Waters (6’3” 238) was a free agent signing of the New Orleans Saints this past offseason after playing his first two seasons in San Diego where he saw action primarily on special teams. The outside linebacker however, was part of the Saints’ final cuts in early September.

The former third-round pick (2007) has appeared in seven career games.

To make room for him on the eight-man practice squad for Waters the Bills waived linebacker Marcus Freeman.