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By Joe Buscaglia
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Bills top 20 talents: No. 16 - Brandon Spikes

Defense reigns supreme on the countdown of the top 20 talents on the Buffalo Bills roster, and that’s where the next player on the list takes us once again. The next member of the list has never played a down for the Bills, but has the type of game that makes the team believe he can make an immediate impact in an area that they’ve struggled for several seasons. 

The criteria for the top 20 is a blend of overall raw skill level, actual on-field performance and a projection as to what they might do in the future based on studying the players over the past couple of years. So who is number 16? A former villain to Bills fans and to a certain bearded quarterback that once started in Buffalo:

LB Brandon Spikes

Age: 26 (9/3/87)
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 255

Why he’s here:
- A rather peculiar end to his tenure with the New England Patriots after four seasons landed Spikes as an unrestricted free agent and Buffalo pounced on the middle linebacker for their 4-3 defensive scheme. Spikes is not the jack of all trades type, but he is a master at one part of his game. On run downs, the linebacker will be among the best weapons the Bills can arm themselves with to help stop a problem that has plagued them since Chan Gailey took over as the head coach in 2010. Although limited as an athlete in pass coverage, Spikes’ downhill, thumping style makes him an immediate upgrade to what they were working with last season in Arthur Moats on base sets to help stop opponents from getting big rushing gains.

2014 outlook:
- Spikes signed only a one-year contract with the team, and it screams as a “prove it” deal after the drama that unfolded in New England at the end of the 2013 season. The linebacker will likely be fully motivated to prove himself playing only on a one-year pact, and can provide the stability against the run when he’s in there. However, the Bills should not attempt to use him too much even though Kiko Alonso is likely lost for the season. Spikes is very good against the run, but his game is not as a normal three-down linebacker. The expectation is that he’ll be on the sidelines on those obvious passing downs.

Bills Top 20 Talents
20) TE Scott Chandler
19) CB Leodis McKelvin
18) QB EJ Manuel
17) DE Manny Lawson
16) LB Brandon Spikes
15) ??? - Wednesday, July 9 at 6 pm

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of the AP​

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Topics : Sports
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Locations : BuffaloNew England
People : Brandon SpikesChan GaileyKiko AlonsoLeodis McKelvinManny LawsonScott Chandler

07/09/2014 7:58AM
Bills top 20 talents: No. 16 - Brandon Spikes
Please enter your comments below.
07/09/2014 1:47PM
Run D
Was horrible during the Jauron era too. The name Larry Triplett still haunts me. But, back to this year, hopefully, Dareus isn't suspended, because when he was out the first half against the patriots belichek noticed and Blount ran all over us. I know one player doesn't make a huge difference, still dareus is key. I'm excited for Schwartz's defense, very few people could run on the lions. This will not resemble Dave Wannstedt's vanilla 4-3. Schwartz has a much more modern spin on the 4-3 with much more blitz's and coverage variations. Excited for the new year, and pumped to watch spikes fill gaps properly with force...finally.
07/09/2014 2:37PM
Obviously, There Is Something Wrong With Me
Football talk in early July could not be more boring to me. I read the articles out of respect for the writer. But before I am even done, I am saying to myself, I could not care less. So many things will change by the time the season finally starts that all of the articles will be less than irrelevant.
07/09/2014 7:55PM
You are right. There is definitely something wrong with you.
07/10/2014 7:45AM
Good player, but....
Get a haircut you bum.
07/14/2014 11:07AM
Here comes spikes.
Hey you can say what every you want to say about this man. But we are glad he with us know than the pats. You think he don't got something to prove if you want to. But when we play the pats they are going to hate the mess out of him. And remember if we want to get to the playoffs. Than we got to beat the pats in new England. This will be the turning point for the bills. It will show us just how bad they want to make the playoffs. And if they do and they stay away from a lot of injuries. Only god knows just how far they will go in the playoffs.
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