He was one of the most improved players in training camp and the preseason at the linebacker position. Third-year linebacker Arthur Moats really took a big step forward and has landed the starting strong side linebacker role. But the Bills are always big on creating competition and have done so for Moats in the form of Nigel Bradham.
Bradham played at strong side linebacker each of the last two preseason games. His combination of size and speed is very appealing and offers the defensive staff versatility. All that's missing for Bradham to see time on defense in the regular season is experience.
The fourth-round pick got mixed in for a handful of first team reps in practice Monday subbing in for Moats.
"I got in there a couple of times just rotating in and learning, trying to learn from the older guys, Nick Barnett, Bryan Scott, Kirk Morrison," Bradham told Buffalobills.com. "Getting it in with the ones is what's happening right now. We'll see how it works out, but I'm not sure. I know I play a lot of special teams."
Bradham is a primary player on special teams, and though the rookie's play has been encouraging through the preseason, head coach Chan Gailey made it clear that the Florida State product has some ground to cover in learning the position.
"He's such an impressive athlete, but he has not played over there at all," said Gailey. "We've thrown him over there for some snaps a little bit during OTAs and training camp, but we stuck him over there to see how he could do."
Moats for the most part has been impressive this preseason in his own right and all indications are he will start Sunday against the Jets. With Bradham still learning it's clear the coaching staff feels more comfortable with Moats on the field knowing Bradham has yet to play in an NFL regular season game.
"Right now Arthur knows what to do. Nigel is learning what to do," said Gailey. "We're going to see who plays the best and deal with that as the season goes on."
Gailey didn't deny however, that Bradham is pushing Moats.
"He is (pushing)," said Gailey. "He's doing that today. Nigel is such a physical presence and has such great speed he matches up well over there. And Arthur has done well over there too. If Nigel can keep getting reps and he can learn what to do that would give us two solid, young players."
"I've just got to be ready for the opportunity," said Bradham. "If the opportunity is there or anybody goes down I've got to be able to get out there and perform as best I can and execute the plays."