Now that the NFL Draft is all said and done, the Buffalo Bills still have some areas of the roster that can use some help through free agency as we creep closer to the start of training camp.
Looking to address a major area of need, the Buffalo Bills will reportedly host a free agent linebacker. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Bills will host linebacker Gerald Hodges on an official free agent visit.
Hodges, 26, has spent the majority of the last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Hodges started 16 games and appeared in a total of 25 games for the 49ers over those two seasons.
Hodges was acquired by the 49ers in a midseason trade with Minnesota, where he spent the first two seasons of his career.
Joe B's Take
- Adding a player like Gerald Hodges at this point of free agency -- and with how big of a need the linebacker position continues to be for the Bills -- would be a humongous addition for them.
The 6-foot-2, 236-pound Hodges not only started for the 49ers, but he was an incredibly efficient player during the 2016 season. In his 12 starts and 15 total appearances, Hodges ranked as the 21st best overall linebacker according to ProFootballFocus.com.
He was also the 12th best linebacker in run defense.
Although he played in the 3-4 defense with the 49ers the past couple of seasons, Hodges would fit right into the weakside linebacker position in Sean McDermott's defense -- and would be a huge upgrade over Ramon Humber at that.
In watching back a couple of games of Hodges from the 2016 season, I saw a player that showed good instincts for sniffing out the run game. He showed the ability to stack and shed defenders and even showed proficiency in dropping back into zone coverage.
On the downside, he might not be as quick as some other linebackers and he can get caught a little too upright when attacking the ball carrier, but this is a solid player that can help the Bills immediately.
And likely with such a clear chance at starting for a defense that stresses the play of the linebackers, Buffalo could be a good fit for Hodges.
At the moment, the Bills are one injury away from having to start either an incredibly inexperienced player or one that would be playing out of position. The mere presence of Hodges on the roster gives them some breathing room and a potential starter to boot.