David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
At the NFL Scouting Combine, general manager Doug Whaley floated the idea out there that they believe Kiko Alonso would excel as a weak-side linebacker. This would open up a glaring hole at inside linebacker and a player like Brandon Spikes would seem to be the best fit.
The biggest reason Buffalo would consider signing New England's Brandon Spikes is that he is the best linebacker available in stopping the run. Last year, the Bills defense struggled to stop the run, giving up 128.9 rushing yards per game, and surrendering a number of long rushing plays.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Spikes missed only four tackles last year and finished with the best rating against the run among inside linebackers. His stats are even more impressive considering he didn't have Vince Wilfork, who generally commands the attention of numerous offensive linemen, playing in front of him.
There are two big issues that come with the signing of Brandon Spikes: pass coverage and potential injuries.
While he excelled in run defense, his pass-coverage ability is not as stellar, and this could prevent him from being a three-down linebacker. Last year he was thrown at 27 times while in coverage and allowed 18 receptions for 191 yards.
The other concern the Bills could have about signing Spikes is the fact that he finished the year on injured reserve. However, whether he was really hurt enough to be designated for IR is open to debate. According to Michael Whitmer of The Boston Globe, Spikes did not want to go on IR at the end of the year, and it was not a mutual decision as the Patriots had initially said.
As long as he is cleared medically by doctors, this should not be a major concern for the Bills when deciding to pursue Spikes.