BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot
The fourth installment of Buffalo Bills Draft’s six-part Sophomore Spotlight series focuses on 2012 fourth-round pick, Nigel Bradham.
Selected Round 4, Pick 105 from Florida State
Heading into the 2012 NFL draft, Buffalo needed to upgrade its linebackers. The team had veteran linebacker Nick Barnett and plenty of question marks. Bradham was considered to be great value in the fourth round.
Bradham led the Seminoles in tackles from 2009-2011. He finished his four seasons at Florida State with 305 total tackles (188 solo). He also had 21.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and three interceptions in 53 games. In 2011, Bradham made many defensive plays to help the Seminoles finish 9-4.
Bradham’s scouting report at NFL Draft Scout had this to say:
- Fearless, relentless and fast.
- Covers a lot of ground on the field.
- Can turn and run with tight-ends in coverage.
- Uses hands well to shed blocks.
- Dedicated hard worker on and off the field with virtually perfect durability record.
- Not much of a pass rusher if there is not an open lane.
- Ball skills are just average.
- Takes some dumb penalties.
NFL Network draft analyst Bucky Brooks liked Bradham as a prospect.
Bradham will compete for playing time in the Bills’ linebacker corps. He brings speed and explosiveness as an outside linebacker.
Bradham instantly impressed when training camp began last season. His performance, however, was overshadowed by that of Arthur Moats. Moats moved past Kirk Morrison on the team’s depth chart as the team’s starting strongside linebacker.
However, days before the season opener, news broke that Bradham was starting to receive first-team snaps. Former coach Chan Gailey had this to say on Bradham’s emergence:
“He’s such an impressive athlete,” Gailey said. “He’s not played over there (strongside linebacker) at all. We’d thrown him over there a couple snaps over a little bit during OTAs and training camp, but we stuck him over there to see how he can do. He is such a physical presence and has such great speed. He matches up well over there and Arthur’s done a good job, too. So if we can keep getting Nigel some reps and he can learn what to do, that’d give us two solid, young players.”
Moats ended up winning the starting strongside linebacker job for the Bills, but his performance on the field was lacking. By Week 6, Bradham took over the starting job and he never looked back.
Games Played: 16
Games Started: 11
Total Tackles: 57
Solo Tackles: 37
Passes Defensed: 1
Fumble Recoveries: 1
Week 17 vs. New York Jets
Bradham saved his best performance for the last week of the season. In Buffalo’s series finale victory over the Jets, Bradham was all over the field. He finished the game with 11 total tackles (five solo) in the Bills’ 28-9 victory. One of Bradham’s assisted tackles went for loss and he stopped a direct snap to Jeremy Kerley for no gain.
Week 6 at Arizona Cardinals
Bradham’s worst performance was in his first start. Against the Cardinals, Bradham was on the field for 32 defensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. He finished the game with three tackles, two of which were solo. He had one missed tackle in the game. It may have been a case of Bradham getting his feet wet, but this performance was lacking.