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Posted: Wednesday, 17 April 2013 4:26PM

Bills' Bradham heading for bigger role



Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550)  -- When the 2012 season started for the Buffalo Bills, there was a bit of an undercurrent in the works in respect to their linebacker group. First it was Kirk Morrison, then it was Arthur Moats, but only six weeks stood in between linebacker Nigel Bradham and his eventual starting role with the team.

Primarily a weakside linebacker for his entire playing career, when he got to Buffalo the 2012 fourth-round pick could do no better than a backup role at that position with Nick Barnett on the roster. Impressing coaches throughout OTAs and minicamps, the Bills elected to work Bradham over at strongside, pushing Morrison out of the equation.

Bradham and Moats continued to battle up until Week Five in San Francisco, when Moats found himself on the bench for poor play. From then on, the rookie never looked back.

Now with Manny Lawson signed through free agency, Bradham shifts back home to the spot on the defense he's known quite well.

"Oh yeah, it's definitely nice to be back over there," he said. "The role I had last year, I fit for the team well and the coaches felt like that was best so I went out and played it."

It's early yet, but the Bills may be expecting big things from the former Florida State Seminole in the brand new attacking Bills defense.

"I think he is a great fit for what we are doing because he can fly," GM Buddy Nix said Tuesday. "He can run. He is a guy that the closer he gets to the ball, the faster he gets. So he likes to play. He was an excellent special team’s guy. I would think that he will have a good year."

Nix goes as far as saying he believes Bradham possesses the kind of skill-set to stay on the field all three downs. If he does fulfill that role, he'll be taking the place of the man he started out backing up in his rookie season.

"I definitely was watching Nick [Barnett] last year," Bradham remarked. "With him being the Will linebacker, he was teaching me a lot in the meetings. Great role model, I'm glad I got the chance to learn from him as a player and just personally. He was a great player, and unfortunately he's not here this year, but hopefully I can take his role and step up and make plays like he did."

It's extremely premature in to the process, with the Bills having only gone through two days of a voluntary veteran minicamp, but the second-year linebacker is loving what he sees from Mike Pettine's new defense.

"Pretty much everything [is different]," Bradham opined. "I feel like the blitzing, being in coverage… and the coaches, they're more enthusiastic. Pretty much everything as far as the scheme is something different and something I've never really been a part of as far as the blitzing, and I've been most of the all coverage schemes, but this one has a lot more blitzing in it so it'll be a lot more fun."

The Bills will meet again on Thursday for the conclusion of their first minicamp under head coach Doug Marrone. Wideout Stevie Johnson has not participated in the first two days due to a mild strain in his back.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

All photos courtesy of AP
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