Nickell Robey-Coleman Defensive Grade Through Nine Games:
Buffalo’s smallest player at 5’8″ and 165 pounds has been their biggest shining star in the secondary. We’re talking about Nickell Robey-Coleman of course. He’s made countless big plays this season and has been their most reliable corner even though he is their nickel cornerback.
In Week 2 against the New York Jets, he recovered a fumble and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown. Week 5 against the Rams he intercepted a pass from Case Keenum and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. It was his second interception that afternoon. The next week against the 49ers, Robey-Coleman forced a fumble on a kickoff which was recovered by the Bills and allowed them to pull away for good against the 49ers.
Out of Buffalo’s top three cornerbacks he has been the best in coverage which isn’t necessarily a fair comparison since he generally is not covering a team’s best passing target. He has performed like one of the best nickel corners in the league despite his size but his small stature prevents him from coming away with tackles.
He has just 16 tackles and 2 assists this season but has 4 passes deflected, 2 forced fumbles, two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. Pro Football Focus ranks him as the 53rd best cornerback in the league which means he could start on a lot of teams but again, he’s not covering most teams number one receiving threat and he probably couldn’t considering his size. Evidence of that was when he was beat Week 8 on a 53-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski although, in fairness, almost no one in the NFL can cover Gronk.
Now that we’ve graded the cornerbacks let’s move to the safeties on the next slide starting with Robert Blanton.