Buffalo Bills’ Jordan Poyer named best safety in NFL

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The Buffalo Bills sport one of the best safety tandems in the entire NFL with Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. Our friends over at the NFL Wire have often complimented the duo and did once again.

We’re not here to overlook Hyde, he gets mentioned as well. Hyde was named the 12th best safety in NFL by TD Wire.

Where Poyer lands was really eye catching.

In naming the 13 best safeties in the league, Poyer is named the best of the best. The top-spot overall is given to him.

Here’s Doug Farrar’s breakdown on both:

12. Micah Hyde

Bills safety Micah Hyde (23)  Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Hyde ranked seventh on our safety list last year after a 2020 season in which he allowed 15 catches on 27 targets for 143 yards, 46 yards after the catch, one touchdown, one interception, and an opponent passer rating of 67.4. In 2021, Hyde was more opportunistic and more vulnerable, which puts him a bit below where he was before.

As one half of the NFL’s best safety tandem (along with Jordan Poyer, who you’ll see later on the list), Hyde played all over the field while Poyer played mostly free safety. Hyde had 278 snaps in the box, 185 in the slot, 628 at free safety, 51 at the line, and four at outside cornerback. And on all those snaps, he allowed 20 catches on 29 targets for 211 yards, 38 yards after the catch, four touchdowns, six interceptions, and an opponent passer rating of 89.9. Not quite the shutdown performer he was in 2020, but Hyde was also responsible for many more takeaways.

Hyde made Mac Jones’ life particularly miserable, as the Patriots’ rookie quarterback gave up three picks to him — two in Week 16, and one in Buffalo’s wild-card win. The wild-card pick came with Hyde as the deep safety, and Nelson Agholor beating cornerback Levi Wallace downfield. That didn’t matter, because Hyde zoomed over to take the ball away.

Hyde was not as fortunate in the rematch against the Chiefs — the epic divisional round game that ended the Bills’ season. Here, in the red zone, Hyde was a tick late to cover the crosser, and the result was a touchdown. Hyde nearly caught up to deflect the pass, but that’s life in the NFL — one slow step, and you’re in trouble.

Overall, Hyde had a good season, and he belongs on this list. But if he can retain his 2020 excellence again, Buffalo’s secondary might just be the class of the league.

1. Jordan Poyer

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

And now, we enter the realm of the truly preposterous. Poyer is one half of the NFL’s best safety duo with Micah Hyde, which may be why he’s serially underrated. There’s also the perception that he’s not a great run defender, but when you have a deep defender like this, dinging him for that is very much like complaining because you can’t tow anything with your Lamborghini.

Last season, Poyer allowed 13 catches on 28 targets for 61 yards, 40 air yards, no touchdowns, five interceptions, and an opponent passer rating of,,,

,,,wait for it…

13.7. 

Folks, that just doesn’t happen. Among safeties who played at least 50% of their teams’ defensive snaps in 2021, Devin McCourty ranked second with a 31.8 opponent passer rating allowed. Marcus Williams ranked third at 54.2, just so you know what we’re dealing with here. As an NFL quarterback, you’d be three times better off throwing the ball in to Section 320 than you would be in targeting Poyer. This came after a couple of seasons in which Poyer was more exposed in coverage, but the tape seems to show that this isn’t a one-year wonder.

Poyer was effective all over the field, but he was especially effective when playing deep. On targets of 20 or more air yards, he allowed no catches on five targets… and had one interception. This pass breakup against Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski in Week 14 shows how great Poyer is at all that. Poyer velcroed himself to Gronk through the end of the route, and had the presence of mind to stick a hand out to eliminate any possibility of a catch.

As far as Poyer’s ability to play the run? You can ask Washington’s Antonio Gibson how No. 21 gets that done.

Poyer is the NFL’s best safety in deep and intermediate coverage, and he’s better at everything else than you may think. That’s why he’s at the top of this list, and No. 1 here really isn’t close.

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