The Buffalo Bills had success on defense in 2018 and that led to three players being chosen among the top 101 in all of football for the year.
The 2018 season was a difficult one for Buffalo Bills fans to watch.
The defense was stocked with talent, yet the offense was so bad at points that it was tough to finish much better than 6-10. If the team opened the season the way things ended, perhaps we are talking about another surprise playoff berth.
Alas, there were plenty of positives that make the 2019 season one to look forward to. The talent on defense is a major positive and that was reflected in the top 101 players in 2018 list put out by Pro Football Focus this week.
The players were announced throughout the week and the list is finally complete. The Bills finished with three in the top 101. In fact, it was three in the top 90.
Micah Hyde clocked in at No. 90 overall. Here is what was said about the veteran safety:
"As one of the league’s premier playmakers in coverage, Hyde didn’t disappoint in 2018. He finished with the third-highest coverage grade among safeties at 88.6 and finished with five combined pass breakups and interceptions."
Hyde also finished with two interceptions and a fumble recovery, and showed up fifth overall in tackles. This should have fans feeling great about having Hyde under contract as the process continues.
Showing up in his first top 101 list at No. 68 overall is the ageless wonder, Lorenzo Alexander. He had a career year as he continues to get better:
"The 14th-year edge defender produced the highest-graded season of his career in 2018 and was a force as a pass-rusher, where he produced 38 total pressures from his 238 pass-rushing snaps for a pressure percentage of 16.9% – the fifth-highest rate among edge defenders with at least 100 pass-rushing snaps."
Kyle Williams is on his way out but Alexander is back for another year and can continue to set the tone for the young linebackers on the defense. Playing in all 16 games last year helped set that tone.
Speaking of aging well, Jerry Hughes had himself a fine year and showed up at No. 44 overall. He led the defense with seven sacks and he forced three fumbles in 16 games played.
"Jerry Hughes has got better with age, as he’s coming off by far the best year of his career after nine seasons in the NFL. Hughes recorded 74 total pressures (54 hurries, 12 hits, eight sacks) on 375 pass-rush snaps, giving him the best pass-rush productivity rating (10.9) among all qualifying edge defenders in the NFL."
So that’s three players in three different levels of the defense showing up among the top 101 players in the entire NFL.
I can only imagine that the Bills will be better in 2019 and this list may include even more players, hopefully on both sides of the ball.