Terrel Bernard: from breakout star to the Buffalo Bills' defensive anchor

Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages

We all know what is happening this weekend with the Buffalo Bills. It's probably the biggest game between the Bills and Dolphins since the 1993 AFC Championship game, which the Bills won 29 - 10. This one is for the AFC East and a playoff spot. And while many of us are concerned with the offense, it's been the defense lately that has started to take off and the guy in the middle that has been the quarterback of the defense is a former third-round pick, that fans thought Brandon Beane lost his mind when he selected him.

Terrell Bernard was a player that Bills Mafia often used as an example of why Brandon Beane doesn't draft well. And when it came time to extend Tremaine Edmunds' contract, the Bills elected to extend Ed Oliver instead and let Edmunds walk. Bills fans once again questioned Brandon Beane. It would appear Bean made the right decision and maybe, just maybe he is good at what he does. I mean, he drafted Dalton Kincaid, and some fans scoffed at that too. But that's a discussion for another time.

Throughout the preseason, the battle for the middle linebacker position was assumed to go to Tyrel Dodson, especially given the injury to Bernard and he wasn't able to get any preseason time in before the regular season began. That didn't matter to Bernard, as he stepped in and took over the position like a seasoned vet. He's only 24 and on a rookie contract still. Between him and his counterpart, Tyrel Dodson, one of the areas of concern before the season, has become one of the team's strengths.

Through 16 games this season, Bernard has 81 solo tackles, 134 total. He has recorded 6.5 sacks and three interceptions. Those splash plays that everyone begged for out of Edmunds, Bernard is doing nearly every week. Let's put those numbers into perspective. Bernard is the first player since 1991 to record a season with at least six sacks, three interceptions, and three fumble recoveries. He is also one of only four players to put up such numbers in a season dating back to 1982. And yet wasn't voted to the AFC Pro Bowl. Further evidence that the Pro Bowl has become a joke and has zero credibility.

The Pro Bowl soapbox is not one that I want to climb up on right now, so I'll move on. Bernard has one more regular season to add some more splash plays and let's hope we get to see what he does in the playoffs too. I have a feeling he may be one of those players that takes their game to another level come playoff time.

Speaking of the NFL Draft....


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