The Buffalo Bills’ secondary in 2022 was known more for its inconsistent lineups than quite possibly anything else. Even with all the moving pieces of Micah Hyde getting hurt, Tre White coming back, rookies working in, and a dinged-up Jordan Poyer, the unit still finished second in Football Outsider’s DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) passing mark with a 36.5% score. As a whole, the Bills’ defense allowed the sixth-fewest yards per game at 319.1 and the second-fewest points per game at just 17.9. With all the moving pieces in the secondary, there was one constant during the regular season: if Poyer played, the Bills won. They were 12-0 when he lined up Weeks 1-18 and 1-1 in the playoffs. “With Micah Hyde’s season halted after Week 2, the defense leaned on Poyer to fill both roles. Poyer’s unique ability to combat the pass and run allowed him to do just that and resulted in Buffalo finishing the regular season undefeated when he plays,” said @UberHansen. Being the versatile leader of the defense is a major reason Poyer comes in next in our Top 10.
Jordan Poyer comes in third in the Cover 1 cumulative Top 10 Important Player rankings by earning 39 out of 70 possible points (first-place vote = 10 points, tenth-place vote = 1). Poyer’s highest ranking came from @UberHansen who ranked him No. 2. The captain of the secondary was just three points away from earning the number two spot, and only one of three players to be ranked in everyone’s top four.
You can argue that on a game-by-game basis, the Oregon State product had a career year for the Bills in 2022. Poyer’s four interceptions were the most he had per game in his NFL tenure. His four tackles for a loss were third most, and his 63 tackles were top five. Under his guidance, the Bills’ defense allowed the ninth fewest passing yards in 2022 and finished with 17 interceptions, good enough for the fourth most. “Undefeated when Jordan Poyer was on the field this year in the regular season. Playing hurt, he was more important this year with his knowledge of the defense and teaching the safety next to him how to play the position,” said @AjayCybulski.
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The advanced numbers stack up favorably for the 10-year veteran as well. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Poyer had four games where he didn’t allow a single catch. Jordan was also dinged for a total of ZERO flags this season. He also wasn’t afraid to put his nose in the middle of the defense either. He ranked top 25 among safeties in PFF’s run defense grade at 70, he was second in forced fumbles, and 22nd in missed tackles. How the unit faired as a group is credited in large part to Poyer. As listed above, the Bills were second in passing DVOA and third overall. Going back to PFF, the Bills were top 10 in coverage grade. @stasetistics added, “Jordan Poyer held down the secondary after Micah Hyde went down, as the Bills finished tied for 3rd in the league in interceptions (19) and 2nd in goal line efficiency (45.6%).”
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Game of the Year:
With the Bills being a perfect 12-0 in games the former seventh-round pick played in, you could pick any of those as his game of the year, but the numbers say it was a 23-20 win at Baltimore where Poyer shined the brightest. In that game, he had six tackles, two picks on three passes defended. PFF ranked it his third-best tackling game with a grade of 83.4 and his fifth-best overall defensive grade at 71.5. Poyer had zero missed tackles and didn’t allow a reception on two targets.
Poyer, like Edmunds at No. 6, exits the 2022 season as a free agent. According to Spotrac, the safety signed a two-year, $19,500,000 contract with the Bills, including a $3,000,000 signing bonus, $13,300,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $9,750,000. Brandon Beane has some tough decisions to make when it comes to moving forward with a few key players up for a new deal while also wanting to improve along the trenches.
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Vorse’s Final Take:
If Poyer decides to chase one more fat check he might not be able to obtain in Buffalo, I will not blame him one bit. He has earned a payday, and it might come at leaving the team that took a shot on him back in 2017. His value was proven this year with the Bills only losing one game he suited up in, but on the other side of the coin, even when he played he was dinged up. Will that risk outweigh the benefits for Beane? Time will tell. Poyer’s value isn’t limited to just boxscores and analytics. You can’t put a price on his leadership, grit, and smile, and all would suck to lose. As @LowBuffa said, “Po has been the most consistent presence in the defensive backfield while fighting through injuries that would debilitate normal humans.” It would be weird to see all those things in any other color than red, white, and blue.
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