At the start of training camp, Bills GM Buddy Nix mentioned the possibility of adding a fourth safety. Buffalo had Jim Leonhard in for a workout, but he signed with Denver. After moving Bryan Scott to linebacker, there was a gap that needed to be filled, and undrafted rookie Delano Howell gets the first shot as a second-team safety, along with Da’Norris Searcy. We hear that Searcy, who played in every game last season as a rookie with three starts, had a strong camp. Head coach Chan Gailey complimented Howell for having “a nose for the football” in the preseason. In Nolan Nawrocki's PFW scouting report, he said one of Howell’s strengths was that he “throws his weight around and doesn’t shy from contact.” Howell's preseason play was good enough to keep the Bills from having to add a veteran safety.
When asked about Howell, Gailey mentioned the need to “develop” a young safety. George Wilson is 31, and he missed three games last season, his first as an every-week starter. FS Jairus Byrd is in a contract year, and while the Bills have given every indication of locking him up long-term — something they have done successfully over the last year — he could come at a steep price with another productive season. With a rookie and second-year pro starting at corner, the safety position will be an important one for Buffalo, and strong play from Searcy and Howell helps the depth and gives Dave Wannstedt flexibility, especially against teams that like to spread it out, such as the Patriots.
- Jim Leonhard