For years now, the Buffalo Bills have employed one of the best secondaries in the NFL. A big part of that has been the ability of the coaching staff to get the most out of the team’s cornerbacks. The front office has also had a knack for finding late-round and undrafted cornerback talent. With superstar corner Tre’ Davious White still recovering from a Thanksgiving ACL tear, and a staple at cornerback two in Levi Wallace departing in free agency, the cornerback room will look a little different this year. Let’s look at the current corners on the team.
All-Pro corner, Tre White, was having another great season before he got hurt. Through the 11 games he played, he had one interception and allowed only 33 catches for 328 yards and zero touchdowns. White also posted 41 tackles, half a sack, four quarterback pressures, six passes defended, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. It is unclear whether or not Tre will be ready to start the season. Although, Sean McDermott has stated multiple times that White has busted his tail in recovery. With Buffalo’s great medical staff, fans should expect White to recover nicely and hopefully return to his superstar status. It is likely White could miss the first few games as the team won’t want to rush him back, so depth will be very important this year.
The Buffalo Bills used their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Daft to take cornerback Kaiir Elam. The rookie out of Florida will likely be playing a key role on defense early on. Bills D-coordinator, Leslie Frazier, told the media this past week that they need Elam to “step up and play well for us early.” Elam just turned 21 and played against some serious talent in the SEC. He has 16 forced incompletions since 2020, which ranked second among all SEC cornerbacks. There are high hopes for the talented first-round rookie and it is possible he will be forced into the cornerback one role in Week One with White potentially missing some games. Bills fans should be pleased to hear that Elam has stood out thus far in OTA’s.
The former 2020 seventh-round pick has been flashing since he was thrust into the starting lineup in 2020 due to injuries and played exceptionally well against Deandre Hopkins. Jackson was unable to beat out Levi Wallace for the cornerback two job last year. But, he once again entered the starting lineup last season due to White’s injury. He played well and has earned high praise from the coaching staff and his fellow teammates. Leslie Frazier this past week called him one of the best tackling young corners in the league. He also said that Jackson got tremendous experience last year and gained a lot of confidence that is showing this off-season. It is very possible that Jackson and Elam are the two starting outside cornerbacks to begin the season.
Taron Johnson is a 2018 fourth-round pick, who has evolved into one of the best slot cornerbacks in the league for the Buffalo Bills. The Bills switched from a base 4-3 defense to a 4-3 nickel, to keep the playmaking Johnson on the field. Johnson is a key cog in the Bills’ defense. He is best known for his 101-yard pick-six off Lamar Jackson to send the Bills to the AFC championship. He will remain the starting slot corner for the foreseeable future after signing a 3-year contract extension last summer.
Another example of a nice find by the Bills’ front office. Cam Lewis, the former UB product, was an undrafted free agent who has hung around the past few years. He has played well when given the opportunity and earned himself a roster spot last season. He is a nice backup option for the slot, and in a pinch, can bounce outside.
McCloud was another undrafted free agent signing by the Buffalo Bills last spring. The former Notre Dame cornerback stood out in training camp and in preseason games. He didn’t make the team though and was released with hopes of being retained to the practice squad. The Bengals would poach him but then release him later in the season. Beane wasted no time in bringing him back. He has even taken some reps at safety during OTA’s.
The Bills used one of their sixth-round picks this past draft on cornerback Christian Benford, out of Villanova. Benford is an athletic corner with size at 6’1”. In 36 college games, Benford recorded 137 tackles, 47 pass breakups, and 14 interceptions. He has a nose for the ball and will be fighting for a roster spot this summer.
Olaijah Griffin is yet another undrafted cornerback signing by the Bills. The son of famous rapper Warren G, Griffin hung around on the Bills’ practice squad last season. They seem to like him, as they gave him a 2-year futures contract at the end of the year. They are usually only 1-year deals. He will be fighting for a spot on the team as well this summer.