Q&A! Q&A! Q&A! Like we did with Stephon Gilmore, Cordy Glenn and TJ Graham, we got a Q&A fired up about Nigel Bradham and Zebrie Sanders. Dishing out the info are the boys from Unconquered Noles, the FSU blog for Bloguin. Enjoy.
1) What are his pros and weaknesses?
Bradham is a physical specimen with incredible functional strength, good linebacker speed and maximum effort. Bradham has the nasty attitude on the field you look for from a defender and will most definitely look to deliver punishing blows. He will be a contributor on special teams from day one and should standout there until he's acclimated with the base defense. He has had issues with instincts and diagnosing plays early in his career, but as he got more comfortable, that changed rather drastically. His main issue is being stiff, which gives him a little trouble covering on the outside and flipping his hips to cover receivers when necessary.
2) Can you talk about how he plays in pass coverage and stopping the run?
Bradham led FSU in tackles for the past three years. His development overall was stunted by poor coaching in his first two seasons and after a change in 2010, he began to blossom. This kid can run downhill with the best of them and typically does a great job getting a man down in the open field or at least rallying him up until teammates arrive. He does a great job patrolling his zone if it isn't too big in coverage. He will have to continue to work at man to man coverage and his stiffness will always be an obstacle to overcome in that regard.
3) The Bills have always had issues with covering TEs, could Bradham be someone who could cover them? Why?
I would not count on this being Bradham's biggest strong point. This is another aspect of his game that has improved steadily over the years and his athleticism will continue to help account for some of his weaknesses, but overall he is not where he needs to be in man to man coverage. Fortunately, the last thing to worry about with Bradham is effort. He will put in the work and if the instruction is good, he will continue to grow in this area. To be clear, I do not feel that he is a liability or poor in coverage. But if you're wondering whether or not he's going to shut down and neutralize guys like Gronkowski and Hernandez, the answer is no.
4)Can he pressure the QB on blitzes?
Yes he can. Once he starts to close, it can get ugly because he'll pick up steam in a hurry and arrives with bad intentions. He particularly started to excel in this area as FSU began to get better play up front. He needs to learn to deliver the blow to the running back who is picking up his blitz if he can't give it to the QB, but I think that's something that will come in time. He is better when coming on inside blitzes than from the outside.
5) What were some of his best games at FSU you can talk about? Highlights wise?
Bradham's biggest game probably came against the rival Miami Hurricanes this past season when he tallied 10 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a thunderous hit that has been played thousands of times since. He was ejected for the blow delivered, but the replay immediately revealed that it was a clean and legal hit. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGYwJaqIzLU&feature=related).
6) What type of character is he?
Nigel Bradham has always been shy and a down to earth kid who puts his team first. He's never had a single off the field issue while at Florida State and I do not suspect he will start to have any in Buffalo. He has been a team leader for the majority of his time in college and gets along well with the guys in the locker room. He's both a fan and team favorite. Buffalo got themselves a good one in that aspect for sure.
1) What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Sanders is a very smart player with a ton of experience, having started four full seasons for the Seminoles. He has solid athleticism and does a great job getting to the second level to take on defenders. He will need to continue to improve his strength and learn to play with more of a mean streak. This is something he was criticized for while at FSU. It's not that he doesn't have it in him, because he has proven it. The issue is that it needs to be there each and every week. When he is fully engaged, he can string together some masterful games against top quality defensive ends.
2) How does he handle speed rushers?
Currently, this is Sanders' biggest weakness. He has been exposed in this area multiple times and ultimately it is why his stock dropped as much as it did.
3) Would you consider him a project type player?
I do not believe he is a project, but I do believe he's not yet a finished product. Sanders can play for an NFL team early and do a solid job on the right side from day one. I do suspect that he will be much better in year two and beyond than in year one.
4) The Bills like to spread the field and have just five blockers protecting the QB, can Sanders handle that and why? Where do you see him in four years?
I believe Sanders is capable of handling that responsibility and in four years I suspect he will be a starter in this league. He has the athleticism and experience at both tackle spots and as he adjusts to the competition level, he will continue to grow in his problem areas, which are not all that terrible to begin with. Sanders is a very high level intellect guy who will not struggle in picking up instruction or scheme. This will obviously benefit him a ton.
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