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Thursday, June 5, 2014
Schwartz: CB Robey will have role

By Mike Rodak

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Through nearly two weeks of organized team activities, plenty of attention has been paid to the Buffalo Bills' smallest player: cornerback Nickell Robey.

Listed at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, Robey impressed coaches in training camp last summer. Despite being undrafted, Robey essentially became a key cog in the Bills' defense, holding down the fort at nickelback the entire season.

Then came along Corey Graham. The Bills signed Graham to a four-year, $16 million contract, even though the team already had two starting cornerbacks (Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin) entrenched on either side of the field. Through the first four OTAs, it was Graham taking first-team reps at nickelback, not Robey.

That changed Wednesday. When the Bills' sub package came onto the field for 11-on-11 drills it was Robey in the slot, flanked by Ron Brooks and Mario Butler at cornerback. Graham then came on with the second team.

At this point in the offseason, the change doesn't mean much. However, it shows that Robey is still very much in the Bills' plans despite Graham's signing. It's a battle that will likely continue through training camp.

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had high praise for Robey after Wednesday's practice.

"He's certainly going to have a role," Schwartz said. "He's been one of our best players through our OTAs so far."

But does Robey have the height to succeed in Schwartz's scheme?

"I'll tell you what," Schwartz said. "If you measure heart -- if you measure things like that -- he's 6-foot-10."