The Buffalo Bills went back to scouring the market on Monday and wound up coming away with their third and fourth free-agent signings of the new league year.
Days after bringing in defensive end Kroy Biermann and linebacker Bruce Carter for visits, Buffalo hosted a pair of players Monday morning in cornerback Corey White and linebacker Zach Brown.
With Carter opting to sign with the Jets, the Bills brought his former college teammate – Brown – to One Bills Drive, and ended up signing him to a one-year deal. Brown and Carter were teammates at the University of North Carolina from 2008-2010.
The Bills also inked White, a 6-foot-1-inch, 205-pound defensive back, to a one-year deal. A product of Samford University, White was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2012.
Overview: Zach Brown
The former Tar Heel was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the second round of the 2012 draft and has spent his entire 4-year career in Nashville, racking up 261 tackles (219 solo, 42 assists), 10 sacks, 13 passes defensed and six interceptions along the way.
Despite missing 15 games in 2014 due to a pectoral injury, the 26-year-old linebacker has started 33 games in his career, including five this past season.
After posting back-to-back 90-plus tackle seasons in his first two years prior to the injury, Brown returned to form in 2015 as he amassed 77 tackles (65 solo, 12 assists), 0.5 sacks and two interceptions despite being in more of a reserve role.
In addition, the 6-foot-1-inch, 248-pound ‘backer allowed just 22 receptions on 31 targets for 198 yards and zero touchdowns for an opposing QB rating of 61.0.
That ranking was third-best in the NFL for linebackers behind only Kansas City’s Josh Mauga and Carolina’s Luke Kuechly.
The former Titan is also an efficient tackler, as he was recorded for missing a tackle on just five attempts last season according to Pro Football Focus. A breakdown of his overall performance can be seen here.
How Brown fits?
Despite only signing a one-year deal, the newly signed linebacker is presumably the favorite (at this time) to start in Rex Ryan’s defense alongside another linebacker with the last name Brown – Preston Brown.
Prior to Monday’s signing, Buffalo’s depth chart behind Preston Brown consisted of A.J. Tarpley, Tony Steward and Kevin Reddick – not exactly quality insurance.
Therefore the signing of the other Brown, Zach, provides the Bills with quality depth and plenty more experience than the other three linebackers have combined.
The newest addition to Buffalo’s roster also has more production than another linebacker who just departed from the team.
Former linebacker Nigel Bradham, who was also drafted in 2012, has averaged 68 tackles, 0.87 sacks and 0.25 interceptions per season since entering the league, while Brown has averaged 87 tackles, 3.3 sacks and 2 interceptions per season since 2012.
If the Bills choose to select a linebacker in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft, then Zach Brown may not be a starter come the beginning of the season.
However, if general manager Doug Whaley chooses to go elsewhere with his first three picks, then the Bills may have found another starting inside linebacker with this signing.
And, as Building the Herd’s editor-in-chief pointed out, Brown certainly fits the mold of what Coach Rex Ryan is looking for in an inside linebacker.
Overview: Corey White
Also a member of the 2012 draft class, White has spent time with the Saints, Cowboys and Cardinals during his four-year career.
Most recently with the Cardinals, the soon to be 26-year-old has tallied 132 tackles (123 solo, 9 assists), one sack and four interceptions through his first four seasons.
Despite only tallying six tackles and zero interceptions this past season while bouncing between Arizona and Dallas, the former fifth-round pick has produced when given the chance.
During his most extensive action on the field in 2014, White totaled 53 tackles, six pass breakups and two interceptions in nine starts for the Saints.
How White Fits?
Although the Bills may be set when it comes to the top of their cornerback depth chart, things are a bit shaky behind Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby and Nickell Robey.
With that said, White, who previously played under Rob Ryan while in New Orleans, will immediately come in and compete with the likes of Mario Butler, Javier Arenas and Sammy Seamster for a reserve/special teams role on the team.
Depending on what happens in the draft, the long-limbed cornerback could play his way into a roster spot.
His previous knowledge of the defensive scheme will only help his chances of doing so.
Follow John Green: @JGreen_PRsports