Its funny how things turned out for the Buffalo Bills.
The defensive line was thought to be the best defensive unit heading into the season, yet it turned out to be a major disappointment. And the secondary looked like it would be the worst position group, yet the defensive backs were easily the best unit.
Led by rookie cornerback Ronald Darby, the Bills secondary overachieved even though it had to deal with the injury bug for the majority of the season.
Looking at the stats from the past season, Buffalo finished near the middle of the pack in passing yards allowed at 19th with 3,972 yards. However, the Bills finished in the top 10 at yards per attempt, in ninth with just 6.8 yards. Considering opposing quarterbacks tested Buffalo early and often, the secondary held it’s own for the most part.
Darby won the Pro Football Focus Defensive Rookie of the Year award and was named to the All-Rookie team by the Pro Football Writers of America. The second-round pick proved that he will pair nicely with Stephon Gilmore moving forward, and the two have the potential to be a dominant duo for years to come.
But while the cornerbacks played well, the safeties struggled at times.
Rambo turned in his best season to date, registering 62 tackles, one interception and forced three fumbles.
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The former Washington Redskins safeties highlight of the season came when the Bills faced the New York Jets Week 10. Rambo made three tackles, forced three fumbles and came up with the game-sealing interception in the 22-17 victory.
Corey Graham on the other hand didn’t always find the success Rambo did.
Even though, Graham was considered Buffalo’s best tackler, and even one of the best in the NFL, the former corner struggled in his new-found role at safety.
Graham only missed three tackles on 104 attempts, good for one every 35.7 attempts which was the best rate for any safety or linebacker, but he gave up six touchdowns. Every Bills fan remembers that soul-crushing blown assignment late in the Jacksonville loss when Graham pulled up with a cramp as Allen Hurns caught the game-winning touchdown in the end zone.
The safety position is certainly a spot that Buffalo should address in the offseason whether it’s in the draft or in free agency, especially considering the NFL has become a passing lead.
It’s also worth noting that Buffalo has already made a major upgrade in the secondary since the season ended when Ed Reed was added as an assistant coach last week.