Mike Pettine handicaps Buffalo Bills nickel cornerback competition

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

From the sounds of it, Ron Brooks and Nickell Robey will be the two chief competitors for the Buffalo Bills' nickel cornerback job.

The Buffalo Bills have question marks at cornerback, starting with the youth of No. 1 corner Stephon Gilmore and including the tenuous starting role being handed to up-and-down veteran Leodis McKelvin.

A third question at the position revolves around a pending battle for the nickel job, where a large amount of reps will be up for grabs between a young and highly unproven group of players. In a video posted on BuffaloBills.com this morning, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine discussed that battle with John Murphy.

"We're very pleased with where we are with Ron Brooks," Pettine told Murphy. "He'll play a good amount of nickel for us. Nickell Robey has come in and done a real nice job. You can tell he (was) very well-coached in Southern California. He's made big plays in big games. I don't think it'll be too big for him. We're pleased with where we are in the back end, and not just in the nickel spot."

Pettine, the former defensive coordinator of the New York Jets, has often used smaller, quicker corners in the slot, with Kyle Wilson (5'10", 190), Ellis Lankster (5'9", 190) and Isaiah Trufant (5'8", 170) all getting looks in that role. Brooks (5'10", 190) and Robey (5'8", 165) are in the same wheelhouse from a size and athleticism standpoint, and for now, it's looking like they'll be the two chief competitors for a very significant role in Pettine's system.

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