Former Florida State Seminole Nigel Bradham is a 6'1", 248-pound outside linebacker who displays freakish speed and athleticism for the position. He backed it up by starting his final 39 games in college and leading the Seminoles defense in tackles for three straight seasons.
A regular in the weight room, Bradham ripped off an impressive 24 reps of 225 pounds at the NFL Combine in February. He was also a top performer in the 40-yard dash (4.64), 3-cone drill (7.18) and the broad jump (10'1").
Bradham is clearly an impressive player both on and off the gridiron. A testament to his 305 career tackles at the collegiate level, he displays superior tackling abilities and lives for the big hit. Bradham also tallied nine sacks at Florida State, including five in his junior season.
Bradham does have a few flaws, but they seem coachable. He has a tendency to leave his feet at times, and needs to react more quickly in pass coverage. Bradham was equipped with the speed and athleticism to make up for a lack of natural instincts at Florida State, but this area will require improvement in the NFL.
Here's what ESPN's scouting report said of Bradham's physical attributes:
"Has prototypical WLB build and extremely long arms for the position (33 3/4') and massive hands (10 1/2'). Top-end speed is good for that position, as well. "
Bradham's strengths from his NFL.com scouting report:
Bradham ejected for what appears to be a good clean hit.
Bradham is a very physical and reliable tackler working from his outside linebacker position. He can jolt an offensive lineman and get outside to make plays and tackle running backs. He is quick to react to the outside run, chasing it down from the inside-out. He is a reliable jump-and-dive tackler who excels when pursuing the ball in the open field. He is also an effective blitzer and just as able to defend the run between the tackles. He is good to sink his hips and fit on running backs.
Bradham can be slow to recognize plays and get either into his pass drop or come up to make the play. He is athletic enough to recover from this hesitation at the collegiate level but will struggle if he can't become a more instinctual player in the NFL.
Obviously, there's a lot to be excited about with Bradham. Look for him to make an instant impact on special teams while competing for an expanded role on defense. With continued dedication to improve coupled with sound coaching, this youngster has the tools to become an every-down linebacker in the NFL and remain there for years to come.
Solid pick here by the Bills. Bradham has all the tools to be a reliable starter in the NFL from an athletic and production perspective. Now, it's just about improving his instincts and burying his head in the Bills playbook. Definitely a high upside pick.