Not a whole lot of undrafted rookies go on to have long and successful careers in the NFL, but there are always exceptions. The Buffalo Bills believe that cornerback Nickell Robey could be one of those exceptions. The club signed Robey to a multi-year contract extension Sunday.
"Nickell Robey has been a productive and dependable cornerback for our team since we signed him in 2013," said Bills General Manager Doug Whaley. "I commend our scouting staff for identifying and signing a player of Nickell's caliber in the undrafted college free agent period. Since entering the NFL, Nickell has worked hard and taken advantage of his opportunities to make plays when called upon."
"It feels great," said Robey of securing his NFL future with the Bills. "I just feel extremely blessed right now. I just kept my faith in the Buffalo Bills organization and they believe in me and see the talent that I have. We got on common ground and now I'm here for another few years and now I can just play football."
Robey, 23, has been the team's primary nickel cornerback since his rookie season when he burst onto the scene as an undrafted rookie and seized the role.
As a rookie Robey had 39 tackles, including eight for loss, six quarterback hits, three sacks, an interception return for a touchdown, 10 pass breakups and a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Last season he finished second on the team in pass breakups with 10 and contributed 45 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Robey is excited about getting back to a defensive scheme under Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman that is similar to the one in which he excelled in 2013.
"Last year I was more just coverage basically and softer coverage too," he said. "I didn't get to do everything that I wanted to do as far as being aggressive and being able to play like I really wanted to play. This year Rex is allowing me to do that. I'm playing a lot more aggressive coverages, but most of all doing a lot more blitzing. I love it."
Buffalo's front office clearly agrees with Robey's assessment.
"Under the tutelage of Rex Ryan and his coaching staff, we believe Nickell will continue to develop and make significant contributions within this defense," said Whaley. "Our philosophy is to continue to reward our players. Signing Nickell to an extension is an example of this organization making a commitment to that plan."