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Buffalo Bills: Why the “Big Nickel” role is Buffalo’s biggest need entering the 2020 draft

The Buffalo Bills have built an excellent roster heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. Out of the few needs they have, “Big Nickel” may be the biggest need remaining.



Kyle Dugger

The Buffalo Bills have positioned themselves extremely well for the 2020 NFL Draft. The few holes that they had have been filled through free agency with the signing of players like Mario Addison, Josh Norman, and E.J. Gaines. In addition, they also traded for Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Only a few minimal holes remain on the Bills roster. I’ve given these few needs a nickname to drive home the point that these needs are not necessities, but could bring an added dimension to their team. I call these needs, “Luxury Needs.”

What would be a “Luxury Need”  for the Bills? Adding a big-bodied receiver or added depth to the offensive line are perfect examples. Do the Bills need these kinds of players to be successful this upcoming season? No. However, would the players bring more abilities and competition to the roster? Yes.

 I believe there is one “Luxury Needs,” that the Bills should address. It’s not a complementary running back for Devin Singletary, as they already have T.J. Yeldon, and have clearly shown that they don’t value the running back position enough to use a day two pick on a backup running back (i.e. cutting LeSean McCoy as a cap casualty and not signing any free agent running back up to this point other than Taiwan Jones). This week’s Thursday Thought: Why the “Big Nickel” role is Buffalo’s biggest need entering the 2020 draft.

There are a few reasons why I believe that this is the case. First of all, the Bills have tried for three seasons to fill the Big Nickel role in their defense. Rafael Bush was a one-year rental in 2018, Siran Neal was drafted to play this role, but is more a special teams ace than anything. Taron Johnson has struggled with injuries tremendously for two seasons in a row, and Dean Marlowe is more of a depth and special teams player than a regular starter on the defense. Long story short, the Bills have tried, but been unsuccessful in filling this role ever since Sean McDermott became head coach.

Secondly, it would give their defense so much more versatility. They could deploy all sorts of different packages and give opposing offenses many different looks. To have a player that can cover slot receivers and tight ends, help stop the run, blitz and cover the deep middle, would be such an advantage for this defense. An addition like that could take this defense from being in the top five to the best unit in the league.

Players who are possibilities to fill this role for Buffalo could be: Kyle Dugger from Lenior-Rhyne, Jeremy Chinn from Southern Illinois, or even Grant Delpit from LSU. All of whom would not only be a good fit for the Bills, but will likely be available come Buffalo’s first pick in the draft at 54th pick. Adding players like those mentioned would be welcomed additions to the defense.

Below are some highlights from some of the players I brought up in this article and other draft prospects who could fill the role of “Big Nickel” for the Bills. What do you think? Is “Big Nickel” the Bills’ biggest need or should they go in a different direction?

Kyle Dugger highlights – Credit to Next Up
Jeremy Chinn highlights – Credit to Jeremy Chinn
Grant Delpit highlights – Credit to JustBombsProduction
Ashtyn Davis highlights – Credit to Sean Bialaszek
Tanner Muse highlights – Credit to ACC Digital Network

Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at or on Twitter @mitchell_broder