– Matt Haring
Corey Graham: Graham appears to be the clear front runner to start opposite of Aaron Williams when the season opens up against the Colts. On Thursday, Graham displayed exactly what the coaching staff was looking for when they decided to move him to safety during the offseason. Graham made a few very nice plays in run support, and used his great instincts in coverage in the secondary. The second safety spot is officially Graham’s to lose.
Total Snaps: 27
PFF Grade: 1.3
Nigel Bradham: Bradham will be doing just about everything on the field as the starting weakside LB and has thoroughly impressed thus far. Bradham’s skill set was on full display against the Browns as he blitzed, stuffed the run and dropped back into coverage effectively. Nigel consistently makes plays, whether it’s breaking up a pass that would eventually be intercepted by Ronald Darby, or blitzing up the middle and pressuring the opposing QB. Bradham is an absolute stud, and is only getting better.
Total Snaps: 27
PFF Grade: 1.6
Ronald Darby: It was a nice bounce back for Darby, who made my “stock down” list last week. Darby had two interceptions on the night, one came off of a deflection by Nigel Bradham, and the second came on a deep downfield throw where Darby used his height advantage and better position to create the turnover. Leodis McKelvin doesn’t look anywhere close to playing, so these types of performances will be welcomed with open arms by the coaching staff and fans alike.
Total Snaps: 27
PFF Grade: 0.9
Honorable Mention: Deonte Thompson, Andre Davis, Cordy Glenn
Duke Williams: It was a disappointing performance for Williams on Thursday, as he got toasted on a third quarter touchdown pass. It seems as though when Williams gets beaten in coverage, he gets beaten badly. Williams can still be a solid contributor for the Bills defense this year, without doubt, but Thursday was a very poor showing from the man many thought could win the other starting safety job.
Total Snaps: 34
PFF Grade: -2.9
MarQueis Gray: Gray played rather sparingly in Cleveland, but had one glaring mistake this drives coaches insane. On the Cleveland 1 yard line, Gray was called for a false start, backing the offense up 5 yards. MarQueis should still find himself as the second pass catching option behind Charles Clay, but silly penalties on the goal line can land a player in the coach’s doghouse rather quickly.
Total Snaps: 14
PFF Grade: -1.5
Eric Wood: The man who used to be the most reliable piece on the Bills offensive line has had a shaky start to the preseason. Wood necessarily been bad, but he has been getting beaten more consistently than we’re used to seeing. He drew tough competition in Browns stud rookie Danny Shelton, but was overpowered on multiple occasions allowing Shelton to disrupt things in the backfield. On an offensive line that, overall, looks vastly improved; Wood needs to maintain his level of play in order to be the successful ground-and-pound team Rex Ryan hopes to be.
Total Snaps: 28
PFF Grade: -0.8