Each Wednesday during the NFL season I’m compiling power rankings of the best Buffalo Bills players for 2017. The rankings are cumulative and not based solely off their last game.
Here’s my rankings after Week six; a 20-16 loss in Cincinnati on October 1st followed by a bye last week. (most recent rankings in parenthesis):
1. Micah Hyde: Had six tackles and his NFL leading fourth interception against Cincinnati. When a free agent signs a significant deal in Buffalo it usually comes with chronic underachieving that has the media lambasting his contract within a handful of games. Hyde’s played up to his contract and then some early on. He has a nose for the football, is a solid cover safety and reliable tackler. He reminds me of Jairus Byrd during his best days in Buffalo. I’m loving what I’ve seen from Hyde so far. (5)
2. Jordan Poyer: He slowed down for two games after an incredible start to the season but was back in difference maker form against the Bengals with an interception and fumble recovery. It’s starting to sound like a broken record declaring Hyde and Poyer a fine safety tandem and huge upgrade, but at least it’s a sound fans don’t mind listening to. (8)
3. Charles Clay: He’s gone for at least a month following a knee injury early in the Cincinnati game and it’s an enormous blow to the offense. He has 20 catches for 258 yards and a pair of touchdowns in essentially four games and has far and away been Tyrod Taylor’s most comfortable target when throwing the ball more than three yards downfield. Nick O’Leary will pick up some of the slack but on an offense that already lacks weapons, Clay will be sorely missed. (4)
4. Lesean McCoy: 19 carries for 63 yards shouldn’t be a considered a good game for a man of Shady’s talents, but his output against the Bengals was one of his more productive rushing efforts of 2017. He did have six receptions but they only went for 26 yards. It couldn’t be more obvious opponents are bottling up McCoy and daring other guys to beat them. That defensive philosophy and an offensive line that has been often pathetic is hurting Shady, but he’s got to somehow find a way to be better despite the obstacles. He’s simply too good to have not found the end zone for five straight games. (6)
5. Tyrod Taylor: Ugh. I really hoped Tyrod had turned the corner but in Cincinnati he reverted back to “Bad Tyrod.” He completed 20 (of 37) passes but only threw for 166 yards. He was back to looking indecisive in the pocket, making bad decisions and often delivering lackluster throws. In fairness to him he lacks weapons. We can say that ad nauseam. He still needs to play better. As far as I’m concerned we’re seeing the same Tyrod Taylor we’ve been the past two years, which is the prototype Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quarterback. He looks like a world beater one week and trash the next. (1)
If you want a quarterback guaranteed to win no less than six games but no more than nine, Tyrod Taylor is definitely your guy. Whether it’s just for 2017 or the next decade…..that’s what you’re going to get with him.
6. Stephen Haushka: He knocked in three more field goals in Cincinnati but they were all gimmes. How dare him. He’s 11-for-12 on field goals this season and perfect on all four attempts from 50 yards or more. Laugh if you want but the Bills aren’t 3-2 without him. (7)
7. Lorenzo Alexander: The ageless wonder had six tackles against the Bengals and nearly knocked A.J. Green’s head off in jarring a football loose that was recovered by the defense. He has 24 tackles and two sacks through five games and looks every bit the player he did during his breakout 2016 campaign. (Not Ranked)
8. Tre’Davious White: It was rough sledding in Cinci for the rookie, who got torched not once but twice by Green. It was foolish to think after a month of NFL game action the kid was already the next Darrelle Revis. When you’re a rookie playing the No. 1 corner spot you’re going to have forgettable afternoons and Green introduced him to the real world. I’m not the least bit worried about him now, but he’ll have more big tests over the next two weeks when he spends plenty of time covering Mike Evans and then Amari Cooper. (2)
9. Ramon Humber: He didn’t play against the Bengals and his status over the next weeks is unsure because of his thumb injury. Remember though—this is a cumulative process and despite missing the last game he’s still second on the team with 35 tackles. Some think rookie Matt Milano is just as good in his place. I strongly disagree. (3)
10. Jerry Hughes: He leads the team with three sacks and has come close on several others. His numbers don’t blow you away but he’s been a difference maker and as I’ve said a thousand times, he’s out of Rex Ryan purgatory and was born to play in Sean McDermott’s defense. (9)
Off The Rankings: Kyle Williams (10th last week)