Sophomore Spotlight: Nigel Bradham

Advanced Stats (Analytics)

All ratings/advanced statistics per Pro Football Focus premium statistics (subscription required)

Bradham finished his rookie season with the Bills with an overall rating of -0.2. This ranked 20th among outside linebackers playing in a 4-3 defense. In 2012, Bradham only saw 402 total snaps, so his overall rating in 2013 should increase significantly.

Only four other rookies in a 4-3 defense rated higher than Bradham in 2012: Vontaze Burfict (-0.1), Zach Brown (+1.2), Dont’a Hightower (+7.5) and Lavonte David (+10.2).

Pass Rush

Bradham rated out as a +0.1 in the pass rush category. This was the 17th best rating for outside linebackers in a 4-3 defense.

Bradham rushed the passer a total of 15 times in 2012.

His highest one-game rating in this category was against the 49ers (+0.6). During the game, Bradham rushed the passer four times. Of the four attempts, Bradham forced one quarterback hurry.

Besides the 49ers game, Week 17 against the Jets was Bradham’s only other positive rating in this category (+0.4).

Pass Coverage

In pass coverage, Bradham received a -0.6 for the season. The -0.6 rating rating 25th among 4-3 outside linebackers.

In 2012, Bradham gave up 14 receptions on 24 targets for 142 yards and one touchdown.

Bradham’s worst rating in this category was a -1.0 that he received in Week 1 against the Jets. This rating is a bit misleading as Bradham played a total of six snaps in the game. Five of the six snaps were run plays and the other was a pass play. Bradham was thrown upon and he gave up a reception of 17 yards on the play.

His best performance was in Week 16 against the Dolphins (+1.2). During the game, Bradham was thrown upon once; the pass went incomplete. Bradham earned a pass breakup on the play.

Bradham had seven games where he earned a positive rating in coverage. Five of the positive ratings came in the final eight weeks, a sign that Bradham was becoming more comfortable in coverage.

Run Defense

Bradham also earned a -0.6 in the run defense category. Comparing this rating to other 4-3 outside linebackers, Bradham ranked 20th in the league.

His worst game was in Week 16 against the Miami Dolphins. Bradham received a -1.8 rating for the game. Seventeen of Bradham’s 24 snaps came against the run. The Dolphins ran for 182 yards on 35 carries during the game.

Besides his Week 16 performance, Bradham finished the season strong against the run. Against the Rams (Week 14), Seahawks (Week 15) and Jets (Week 17), Bradham had a +4.8 overall rating against the run.

Much like coverage, Bradham finished strong playing against the run.


Bradham’s penalty rating was his highest rating (+0.9). This rating tied Bradham for 10th place among outside linebackers in a 4-3 defense with Akeem Jordan and Lance Briggs.

For the season, Bradham was not called for any penalties in his 402 defensive snaps.

Miscellaneous (all stats according to PFF):

  • Bradham had a pass rushing productivity rating was 11.5. This rating factors in a player’s quarterback hits, hurries and sacks (2), passing snaps (148) and pass rush snaps (15).
  • Bradham had a 8.3 run stop percentage. In 2012, Bradham had 19 stops in 229 run snaps. A stop is when a play results in offensive failure.
  • In terms of tackling efficiency, Bradham had a combined tackle efficiency of 12.8, last among the Bills’ outside linebackers. His run game tackle efficiency was a 20.0, the highest on the Bills. It was his passing game tackle efficiency, 5.5, that brought his rating down.
  • Bradham’s 20.0 run game tackle efficiency was 9th-best in the NFL among 4-3 outside linebackers.
  • For the season, Bradham only missed four tackles.


2013 Stats (Prediction)

Games Played: 16

Games Started: 16

Total Tackles: 130

Sacks: 5

Interceptions: 2

Forced Fumbles: 2

Fumble Recoveries: 2

There is no doubt in my mind that the Bills envision Nigel Bradham as a three down linebacker. In Mike Pettine’s defense, Bradham projects as the team’s weak-side linebacker.

Tim Graham of the Buffalo News recently wrote about the team’s high expectations of Bradham in 2013. Buddy Nix, General Manager of the Bills, certainly thinks highly of Bradham:

“I think he’s a great fit for what we’re doing because he can fly. He can run,” Nix said. “He’s a guy that the closer he gets to the ball, the faster he gets. He likes to play. He was an excellent special-teams guy.

In the same article, Bradham stated that in Pettine’s defense, he’ll get the opportunity to blitz, which would be “fun.”

When Buffalo gives 3-4 looks, expect Bradham to kick inside to inside linebacker.

In 2013, fans should have high expectations of Bradham. There is no doubt he can become a playmaker in Mike Pettine’s defense.


Previous Sophomore Spotlights:

Stephon Gilmore, CB

Cordy Glenn, LT

T.J. Graham, WR

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Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Florida State, Nigel Bradham, Sophomore Spotlight

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