Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Nigel Bradham, Age: 24
Entering his third NFL season, Bradham has shown flashes of dominance at times, but not enough of them to lock down a starting position. Last season the former Florida State standout played in all 16 games for the Bills, but only started in two of them. Many speculated that a lot of this had to do with Bradham being arrested in the pre-season for marijuana possession, but it more than likely had to do with his sub par pre-season performances and inability to shed blockers early in the year.
Bradham worked hard to re-earn his snaps on the field and by week six he was seeing roughly 40 snaps a game. Although Kiko Alonso was garnering all the headlines with his Mike Singletary like play, Bradham was quietly becoming one of the leagues fiercest run defenders.
By the end of the season, Bradham was arguably the teams best run defender. Albeit that he only played 288 snaps, Bradham’s presence at the point-of-attack was undeniable. That ability alone should help Bradham see the field far more often this coming season. But beyond his punishing run defence, Bradham’s all-around athleticism should also help him see the field more, as Jim Schwartz pressure oriented defence plays to the strengths of Bradham’s athleticism.
Although competition for playing time will be fierce at the linebacker position, Bradham has a real opportunity to flourish this year under Schwartz’ system.