LB Gerald Hodges
If the Buffalo Bills are unable to retain Zach Brown, then the need for an inside linebacker increases mightily. They will not only need someone that can apply quarterback pressure, which is what McDermott likes in his front seven, but will also need to be able to drop back in coverage due to the 4-3 scheme.
Gerald Hodges presents the skills needed to fill that role and is even younger than Zach Brown, so there’s room to grow with this team. It’s a little surprising to see him still available well into the second week of free agency, but he most likely won’t last long.
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Hodges is more of a run-stopper and would help the Buffalo Bills avoid allowing another 200-yard rushing day for an opposing running back — something they did three times last season. He can tackle at a high rate and can fill a stat sheet up with his versatility.
After playing nearly two and a half seasons with the Vikings, recording 91 tackles, one interception, 3 stuffs and 0.5 sacks, Hodges finished the 2015 season with the 49ers. He would play 10 games for them that season and finish with 50 tackles and 5 stuffs.
He would spend most of last season as the 49ers’ starter and turned out his best season as a pro. He finished with 83 tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two interceptions, 3 sacks, 2 passes defensed and 3 stuffs.
I wouldn’t mind the Buffalo Bills signing Hodges if Zach Brown is too far of a reach. There aren’t a lot of inside linebackers out there that can provide the skills Brown has.
Lastly, let’s take a look at three honorable mentions that are still available in the free agency market.