Usually, it’s better for a pro athlete to play for a big-market or high-profile team if they seek the awards and accolades that come with individual excellence. The difference between being underrated and properly rated (or even overrated) can often come down to location and the logo on one’s uniform.
Defensive back Micah Hyde has gone against the grain in that regard.
After playing his first four NFL seasons with the ever-popular and perennially successful Green Bay Packers, Hyde signed with the Buffalo Bills last season and had a breakout campaign.
It wasn’t until he got with a lower-profile team that Hyde made his first Pro Bowl appearance, earned his first All-Pro selection, and for the first time landed on the NFL Network’s annual Top 100 ranking — voted No. 62 by his peers around the league.
Hyde was an on-again, off-again starter at safety and cornerback for the Packers, but in 2017 he started every game for the Bills at strong safety. He made 82 tackles, five interceptions and 13 pass breakups in the regular season, helping Buffalo make it to the AFC playoffs. He made four tackles in the Bills’ 10-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in their wild-card playoff game.
The safety tandem that Hyde forms with Jordan Poyer is considered one of the best in the NFL, and they’ll have to continue playing at a high level in 2018.
Buffalo’s quarterback situation looks like a disaster in the making and star running back LeSean McCoy is facing some potential legal problems, meaning the Bills’ defense may have to carry this squad if the playoffs is going to be a possibility.