Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bradham topping lists as Alonso's replacement


The first thing to come out of Buffalo Bills fans' mouths Tuesday after hearing about the season-ending injury to Kiko Alonso -- besides profanity -- was likely, "So what now?"

The media was pondering the same question Wednesday, and the consensus seems to be 24-year-old Nigel Bradham.

Bradham, the team's fourth-round selection in 2012, had some pretty impressive numbers last season despite playing only 287 snaps. That, combined with his athleticism and tackling ability, looks to be drawing the former Seminole from the pack of probables on the roster.

"Despite playing a quarter of the snaps of a lot of other guys like Kiko Alonso and Mario Williams, he actually had the best run defense grade of any linebacker on the Bills roster and the eighth best run defense grade of any inside linebacker in the NFL, which is pretty remarkable for someone who played just 26 percent of the team snaps," ProFootballFocus writer Peter Damilatis told "When you add it up, his tackle rate is among the top 10 linebackers as well. He’s a very sure tackler.

"One thing I also saw from him is he have some pretty good coverage skills, too. He was in the top 10 for yards allowed on coverage snaps. Buddy Nix talked about Bradham being a capable three down linebacker, and our metrics indicate that."

The other options for the team would be Keith Rivers, who's taken snaps at all three linebacker spots thus far; Manny Lawson, who started the majority of games last year at linebacker but was in more of a pass-rusher role; or guys like Preston Brown, Ty Powell and Randell Johnson, largely untested youngsters.

Damilatis and his crew had Bradham listed as their Secret Superstar in Buffalo this season though, a sentiment that is shared by other writers and analysts. 

In his piece Tuesday on the subject, Mike Rodak of said Bradham "offers more athleticism than the alternatives at the position," talking mainly about Rivers and Lawson. Gregg Rothenthal of called the 240-pounder "the most likely candidate" to take over for the team's Rookie of the Year finalist. 

Tim Graham of the Buffalo News also noted Bradham as a contender, though he said team sources were leaning toward the rookie Brown.

Bradham's tallied 108 combined tackles, two passes defended and a fumble recovery in his time with Buffalo.

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