Buffalo Bills: The Changing Of The Guard, Veteran CB Florence Out Rookie CB Gilmore In
After acquiring star corner Stephon Gilmore out of South Carolina with the 10th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft (as well as CB Ron Brooks from LSU near the tail-end of the fourth round), Drayton Florence received the boot by the team on Tuesday morning, according to Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com.
Florence, 31, has spent the past three years with the Buffalo Bills, collecting 168 tackles, seven interceptions, two touchdowns and a pair of forced fumbles in 46 games (45 starts).
Analogous to the rest of the team’s secondary, the former second-round selection by the San Diego Chargers in the 2003 NFL Draft didn’t fair too well in 2011. Florence forfeited a passer rating of 103.3 on his watch in coverage and surrendered a completion rate of 60.3 percent of passes thrown in his direction for 714 yards and six scores, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
With Drayton’s departure and Terrence McGee likely to stay pending his health, the Bills will look to hold onto five or six players at the position heading into the upcoming season.
Among Aaron Williams (who can also line up at safety), Terrence McGee, Stephon Gilmore and Ron Brooks, Buffalo figures to feature a battle between Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers and Prince Miller for placement on the final 53-man roster.
“The Bills are sending a message that they are trying to get younger and more athletic on the defensive side of the ball,” writes Bleacher Report AFC East Blogger Erik Frenz. ”Assessing the current group of defensive backs—corners and safeties—we find just two players over the age of 30 in McGee and George Wilson.”
At 31, Florence’s best days are presumably behind him, but he should land with a club soon since teams can never acquire enough decent cornerbacks.