It's clear Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had a big influence over Philadelphia's defensive free agent signings. The team added a total of three former Buffalo Bills players this offseason, all of whom Schwartz coached in 2014. One of the most critical additions was Nigel Bradham. The Eagles desperately needed help at the 4-3 linebacker position after trading Kiko Alonso to the Dolphins. Back in Buffalo, Schwartz replaced Alonso, who was injured at the time, with Bradham. The move worked because Bradham had a lot of success under Schwartz. Now Schwartz is hoping for similar results in Philadelphia. In order to get to better know the new Eagles' linebacker, here's some insight from Brian Galliford (@BrianGalliford) of Buffalo Rumblings.
1) Were Bills fans upset to see the team not keep him?
"Definitely yes, but I don't know whether or not that's pro-Bradham sentiment, or just an acknowledgement that his departure leaves the Bills with, frankly, terrible linebacker depth. I'd imagine it's much more of the latter."
2) What are his strengths?
"He is highly athletic for the position, and a prototype for what a 4-3 Will linebacker looks like these days. Bradham can really run and hit, and Jim Schwartz put that to very good use in 2014. He's also a solid blitzer, and while he's not natural in coverage, his athleticism is a huge asset in that area."
3) What are his weaknesses?
"He's not especially scheme versatile; he really only had one good year, when he was playing in a strict 4-3, which is fine for the 2016 Eagles, but not so much for the Bills' revolving door of defensive schemes. There were some rumors that he didn't pick up the Mike Pettine and Rex Ryan defenses quickly enough, but he certainly grokked Schwartz's swiftly."
4) Bradham had a career year in 2014 under Jim Schwartz. Was there any reason for that?
"Yes: he's an ideal fit for that defense, and the Bills had an excellent pass rush. Seriously: Schwartz is a good coach, and he made the most out of the talent that the Bills had on hand in 2014, but the success of that defense stemmed from the fact that their pass rush was borderline unstoppable."
5) Anything else we should know? Does he offer any value from a leadership perspective?
"I can't speak to his leadership traits, but he's not the most vocal dude. You'll see him amped up on the field and talking very animatedly with opponents, but he's pretty reserved in how he conducts himself off the field and in the media. He never struck me as a guy afraid to not speak his mind, but he didn't leave much of an impression off the field up here, either."