Just because a player has the size a team covets, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a better player than someone with the prototypical size. And by that logic, it brings us to number 14 on the countdown of the top 20 talents on the Buffalo Bills roster.
Using the trio of overall raw skill level, actual on-the-field performance and projection of what they might do in the future to rank players, it was hard to ignore the next person on the list despite his status as an undrafted free agent last year. His diminutive stature makes him a crowd favorite for some, but he certainly plays much bigger than he is.
CB Nickell Robey
Age: 22 Height: 5’8” Weight: 165
Why he’s here:
- During the offseason workouts in 2013 the player everyone — including the coaching staff — took note of was the undrafted free agent Robey. His listed height might even be a bit generous, but Robey overcompensates for that with a blend of strength, an explosive lower half and instincts that gives the Bills no choice but to put him on the field. In the role as a nickel cornerback last year, Robey flourished once taking the job from Ron Brooks during training camp. His statistics (39 tackles, 3 sacks, 10 passes defended and one interception) don’t tell the entire story. If you watch the film, you’ll see Robey is usually always in the right position to make a play, making many quarterbacks look elsewhere for their targets. If he was just a bit taller and longer in the arms, a lot more people would be talking about his skills.
- It appeared as though once again in the offseason workouts, and under a new defensive coordinator mind you, Robey had to work his way up the depth chart. He didn’t start out as the first-team nickel which caught a few, including yours truly, by surprise. By the end of the mandatory minicamp though Robey was back in his natural position with the first-team defense as the nickel cornerback. New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz raved about him and head coach Doug Marrone certainly knows what he’s capable of in both coverage and as an explosive blitzer from the edge. He’s not an outside cornerback, but up against slot receivers, Robey is a very good talent.