FanPost

Terrell Bernard is a starter!

...Sometimes.

So I feel like a lot of people have expressed some level of confusion about the Terrel Bernard pick. It's been called a reach, or that if we were going to draft an LB, we should've drafted a prototypical MLB to eventually replace Edmunds, etc. Basically, 'We run nickel all of the time and have two well-established starting LB's, so this is a luxury pick when we could've had a higher-impact player at a different position'.

Except, what if we don't play nickel D as much this year?

It seems we all expect a shift on Offense to more '12' personnel, with an emphasis on pressuring the D with speed on the edges (McKenzie, Cook, Shakir, etc.).

So why do we think they are going to roll out the exact same Defense?

I think in certain matchups we will see more of a base 4-3 look, especially if we feel that our outside CB's can play man against their receivers and/or it's a more run-heavy team. We might see more blitzing by Edmunds out of that look, and he could blow up some plays with Sacks and TFL's just based on his assignment changing. (Which will throw more fuel on the 'Tremaine's a Bust/ He's Underappreciated' fire).

Taking a quick glance at the schedule, I'd say the Titans, Ravens, Steelers, Jets x2, Browns, Lions, Patriots x2, and Bears are all teams that (right now, on paper) don't scare me as big passing threats, and may be trying to lean on their run game more than the average team. That's 10 total games. I could easily see a scenario where Bernard plays 30-40% of the snaps this season and is a starter in several games, even with Edmunds and Milano being heathy all year.

As far as I've seen, nobody is criticizing the Shakir pick and saying 'we'll be running 12 personnel and have less WR's on the field this year, so why bother drafting one who might only be out there 10-20% of the time?' He's probably going to start the season as WR5 on a team that puts 2-3, occasionally 4 WR's on the field at a time. Bernard may be LB3 on a team that puts 2-3 LB's on the field at a time.

I think Bernard has more value on this team in '22-'23 than he would have last season. I think the addition of Elam gives us more flexibility on D, and part of that is going to be seeing more 4-3 looks.

I guess the fundamental, philosophical question is- Do you think the Bills ran way more nickel D than any other team in the league last year because that's what they always wanted to do from the start, or because they felt like switching to 4-3 would have been a step down in talent (slot corner was significantly better than LB3)? I think that the latter is true, and while we will primarily run nickel again this year, there will be more 4-3 looks than in years past. Bernard will be on the field more than many people think, even as a starter in multiple games.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.