The Buffalo Bills have a depleted secondary in the wake of injuries to incumbent starters Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, and Damar Hamlin is expected to step up and into a starting role for the first time.
Hamlin, 6-foot, 200 pounds in his professional career, played in 14 games last season as a reserve safety for the Bills, but he will be leaned upon to a much greater extent in his first career start against the Miami Dolphins this afternoon.
Hamlin has played sparingly in the first two games of the season, recording three tackles (three solo), but he will be tested now against the Miami Dolphins’ elite receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
Originally a standout at Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Hamlin led Central to a 15-1 record in 2015, capped by WPIAL and PIAA championships. The pride of McKees Rock, Pennsylvania decided to stay home at Pitt as a four-star recruit in the class of 2016.
In five seasons at Pitt, Hamlin grew into one of the premier defensive backs in the ACC. He recorded 275 tackles (185 solo), 10 tackles for loss, six interceptions, 21 pass breakups and a forced fumble.
In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Hamlin started all 10 games and earned All-ACC second-team honors. With 66 tackles (38 solo), 3.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and seven pass breakups, he played himself into his NFL opportunity.
The Bills made Hamlin the 212th selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he signed a four-year contract in wake of a strong performance in the Bills’ rookie minicamp last spring.
Hamlins’ Bills and Pitt teammate Dane Jackson suffered a scary neck injury against the Tennessee Titans Monday, and while he avoided a major head or neck injury, he is also out today.