When the Buffalo Bills selected Louisville linebacker Preston Brown in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the consensus scouting report is that they were getting a stout run defender that had the big body to be able to absorb contact. That analysis sounds a lot like another linebacker the Bills just added this offseason: Brandon Spikes.
The 6-foot-2, 255 pound Spikes was signed to a one-year contract with the hope that he'll be able to solve the team's woes in trying to stop the run consistently. And perhaps the Bills drafted the 6-foot-1, 251-pound Brown to be Spikes' protégé if the pact only remains at its original length.
The two are noted run-defenders and have even earned the billing of being a "throwback" type of linebacker in today's bigger, faster, stronger NFL. And, they have a lot more in common than just their playing styles. In fact, they were coached up by the same man, and one that has moved on to a new destination this offseason as well.
That person? Current University of Texas head coach Charlie Strong.
While Brandon Spikes was playing for the University of Florida, he was the middle linebacker for Strong while the latter served as the school's co-defensive coordinator. And in Preston Brown's college career, he enjoyed his time playing for Strong while he was the head coach at Louisville.
Brown was Strong's Spikes at Louisville, and now the two are playing the same position for the same professional team.
"Coach Strong was the first guy who called me after I got drafted," Brown said. "So he told me all about Spikes growing up down there in Louisville. I've always watched his game when I was back in high school watching him at Florida. I've always been a fan of Spikes, so, to actually play along side and actually learn from him is gonna be a great experience."
Just because the two played for the same guy, that doesn't earn Brown any special treatment from Spikes -- at least not yet.
"Yeah, I've talked to him a little bit today. But, I'm a rookie right now, so he's giving me a little bit of, kind of avoiding me a little bit," the former Louisville linebacker joked. "I'm sure I'll get some questions answered from him later."
Brown figures to be the top backup linebacker for the Bills heading into 2014.