1. McDermott discusses early plans for Bills defensive backs
Sean McDermott has a proven track record with pass defense, and this week he detailed his plans for Buffalo's secondary in 2017.
Speaking with reporters at the owner's meetings, McDermott said that his defense is built on specific qualities that defensive backs need to have to be successful in his scheme.
"It's nice to be out there and able to run but this is not track practice, this is football," McDermott said. "So we've got to be able to be physical and tackle. That's a big part of it for us and our identity – you guys have heard me say it before and you'll continue to hear me say it – our identity on defense will be built around our corners and their tackling ability and how much our defensive line runs to the football. Those to me are big selling points for our defense."
One of the players who fit that criteria and was already on Buffalo's roster when McDermott arrived was Kevon Seymour.
"What an athlete in terms of just the length. That's really just the way the corner position is moving. You look at Kevon, he played some inside, he played the nickel position, he played outside and yet he was physical," McDermott said. "As a rookie, I thought just watching the tape, he handled himself well. And then the mental toughness part. There's plays where they caught the ball and then came back the next play and hit the reset button and really fired on all cylinders. For a rookie to be able to do that, man, it's huge."
Seymour started three games in 2016 and will be looking to win a spot as the Bills starting cornerback opposite Ronald Darby.
Finally, McDermott addressed arguably Buffalo's biggest free agent addition in Micah Hyde. Although Hyde played in several different positions for Green Bay, McDermott and his assistants already have a plan for Hyde's first season in a Bills uniform.
"You know as coaches, we're going to put him in a position to be successful," McDermott said. "That's our job. Having said that, he's going to start at the safety position and then we'll get flexible once he understands the system."
In 2016, Hyde appeared in all 16 games, and played at both safety spots and nickel cornerback. He recorded 56 tackles, one sack, nine passes defended and three interceptions.
"You look at Micah's skill set and, really, the entire class of free agents that we were able to bring in – number one is he's a good person off the field. That was big," McDermott said. "The character side of it was big for us – knowing that he was a team captain on special teams for the Packers. And then, the versatility, toughness, and I remember watching Micah over the years just on [television] so watching him play different positions, whether it was nickel, safety, corner, and his role on special teams was a big like for us."
2. SI.com predicts the Bills go with defense early in the draft
The owners' meetings are another chance for head coaches and general managers to sit down and figure out their plan of attack for April's draft.
In accordance with that, Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke released his mock draft for the first three rounds of the 2017 Draft that features a penchant on defense for the Bills in the first two rounds.
Burke has the Bills taking Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster 10th overall.
"Buffalo nabbed Foster's ex-Alabama teammate, Reggie Ragland, in Round 2 last year. This time around, the Bills would find it tough to say no to the Crimson Tide product with a better all-around game."
Foster could not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine in February because of offseason shoulder surgery, but he was the 2016 Butkus Award winner, given to the nation's top linebacker. He has started every game for the Crimson Tide over the past two seasons and was named the most complete linebacker in the nation by PFF.
Burke has the Bills selecting Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley in the second round and wide receiver Carlos Henderson of Louisiana Tech with the 75th pick in the third round.
3. Former Bills DB and current NFL exec Troy Vincent to speak at Niagara on April 4
The NFL's executive vice president is coming back to Western New York.
Troy Vincent, who is in his fourth year as the NFL's head of football operations, will be speaking at Niagara University on April 4 about his lifelong commitment to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
His presentation, titled "Leadership Over Violence: Why Character and Values Matter More Than Ever," will include Vincent's personal story of facing domestic violence when he was growing up. He became one of the game's most respected players during his NFL career and he will share how sports helped to turn his pain into progress.
Vincent made five Pro Bowls during his 15 seasons. He spent parts of three years with the Bills and also played for the Dolphins, Eagles and Redskins.
Although Vincent's 47 interceptions on the field were impressive, he also made a huge impact in every city he played in off the field.
He is the only player in history to have received the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award, NFL Players Association Byron Whizzer White Award, Sporting News #1 Good Guy, and NFL Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award.
Vincent's presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the Clet Hall Dining Commons at Niagara University. The event is free and open to the public, but those who plan on going are asked to confirm their attendance by contacting Jason Jakubowski at 286-8405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.