Lions Named ‘Best Fit’ for 11-Year Veteran Safety, Former Division Rival

The Detroit Lions had to face Micah Hyde twice a year at the start of his NFL career, and one report suggests the All-Pro safety could now return to the NFC North to end his career with the Lions.

Micah Hyde

The 11-year veteran, who came into the league as a fifth-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2013, is now a free agent after spending the last seven seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Hyde could have another stop left in his NFL career, and Dom Pizzuta of The 33rd Team suggests that Detroit could be the “best fit” for him.

Pizzuta wrote that Hyde’s versatility could give the Lions “a sense of security at safety behind Ifeatu Melifonwu and Kerby Joseph.”

“Last season, Hyde played more slot corner as the Buffalo Bills bounced players around and dealt with injuries across the defense,” Pizzuta wrote. “He shouldn’t be asked to play the slot much, but he does have the ability to move around, which is something the Lions have taken advantage of with their defensive backs.”

Micah Hyde Could Play ‘Tracy Walker Role’

Pizzuta speculated that Hyde could take over the role previously occupied by Tracy Walker, the safety who was released by the Lions after six seasons in Detroit. Pizzuta noted that Walker played close to 500 defensive snaps last season, taking over at safety when Melifonwu and Joseph moved into the slot.

“At 33 years old, Hyde doesn’t have the range he once did, and he missed most of the 2022 season and a few games in 2023 with a neck injury. But he could provide depth for a promising safety unit, and his veteran presence could be a welcome addition,” Pizzuta wrote.

Despite missing the majority of the 2022 season with a neck injury, Hyde returned and started 14 games for the Bills last season. He made 54 total tackles with two interceptions and seven passes defended.

The Lions could have some competition if they want to land Hyde, especially after Bills general manager Brandon Beane hinted that the team would be open to him returning to the roster in Buffalo next season.

Lions May Have Other Plans at Safety

The Lions have hinted at other plans for the safety position in the coming season. Speaking to reporters at NFL owners meetings in Florida in March, Lions head coach Dan Campbell said cornerback Brian Branch could see some time at safety.

Branch had a strong rookie season, starting nine games and making 74 total tackles. He also forced a fumble and made three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown in the opening night win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Certainty Branch has got flexibility to be able to play the safety position, we believe, here in time,” Campbell said, via’s Kyle Meinke. “We already feel very confident about the nickel. He’ll only get better and better (as a safety). It’s really, we do believe he’ll be able to get there. It’s how fast do you get him there.”

Meinke noted that Branch played both cornerback and safety at Alabama, and was considered the top safety in last year’s draft class. But injuries forced the Lions to play him primarily at cornerback, giving Branch some versatility that Campbell believes will be helpful for whatever role he plays next season.

“Because now he’s been in the system a year,” Campbell said. “He understands. He has got a whole (different) understanding of the nickel position, which helps. Now he can start really diving into the safety (position). It does help. Look, it is hard as a rookie. It’s not easy to come in there and learn, play at a high level and do it consistently. So yeah, he’ll be a lot more comfortable this year.”

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