3. Nickell Robey, CB, USC
The Buffalo Bills signed four cornerbacks as undrafted free agents, which displays that they see a need to increase the team’s competition and depth at the position. There is a good shot that one of them will make the Bills’ final roster, and USC’s Nickell Robey is the favorite among them.
Robey went undrafted likely due to being very undersized (5’7”, 169 pounds), which could limit him to playing only slot cornerback and special teams. That said, he is a explosive and fluid athlete who makes plays in coverage, and plays bigger than he stands by consistently playing with good physicality and being a strong tackler.
Robey may be limited in what he can do because of his size, but he has the skill set to be a very good nickel/dime cornerback and special teams standout. He could turn out to be a steal for the Bills as an undrafted free agent signing — however, he will have to beat out three bigger cornerbacks who the Bills also signed in Lane’s Vernon Kearney, Missouri’s Kip Edwards and Catawba’s Jumal Rolle.
2. Keith Pough, LB, Howard
Keith Pough was a big playmaker who lined up all over the field at Howard, but coming from a small school and lacking the ideal measurables for an NFL linebacker, he ended up going undrafted. That said, his versatility and ability to make plays in the backfield give him a real shot to stick on the Bills’ roster as linebacker depth.
The Bills’ new defensive scheme, a hybrid defense which will likely feature a wide variety of schematic looks, requires versatile players like Pough. While Pough is undersized for a 3-4 rush linebacker at only 6’2” and 239 pounds, he is very good at coming off the edge and making plays in the backfield, especially at chasing down run plays. Additionally, however, he has the ability to drop into coverage and tackling ability to play inside linebacker in a 3-4 and either outside linebacker spot in a 4-3 look.
Like Kaufman, Pough rewrote the record books at the FCS level, setting a career record for most tackles for loss. For a team that could use improved linebacker depth, Pough has a good shot at making the roster as a backup linebacker who can play both inside and outside and rotate into the lineup in any schematic look.
1. Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
While Kaufman, Robey and Pough were all expected to be draft picks, Tennessee Tech wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers was believed to go as early as the end of the first round by some draft prognosticators. He ended up going undrafted, likely resultant of a history of character issues, including multiple failed drug tests which forced him to transfer from Tennessee to the FCS level prior to the 2012 season.
Had it not been for character issues, however, Rogers very well might have been a first-round pick. Although he does have some issues with drops, he has huge upside as a big (6’2”, 217 pounds), strong outside receiver who also has very good lateral agility and route-running ability for a receiver of his size.
Getting Rogers as an undrafted free agent was an outstanding, low-risk, high-reward coup for the Bills. If he runs into any more off-field trouble, he will likely be released immediately, but if he can stay out of trouble, he has the skill set to be a dynamic outside weapon and a huge playmaker on the field for the Bills.
The Bills have a strong top four of receivers between Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham and rookie draft picks Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, but even so, Rogers is the favorite to earn what could be the team’s final roster spot at receiver over Kaufman and returning veterans Brad Smith and Marcus Easley.