It was gonna be a long wait to pick number 25 for the Bills on day one of the NFL Draft.
Turns out that was too long for Brandon Beane.
The Bills GM swung a trade with Baltimore and moved up to the 23rd pick to grab Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam. Bills gave up pick number 130 in round four to make the move.
Elam was the fourth corner selected in the first round and taken two picks after Washington’s Trent McDuffie.
The measurables are good with Elam. He’s 6-1 and runs just a hair under a 4.4 40 yard dash. He’s strong, physical and effective in press coverage.
He finished with five interceptions in his three year career with the Gators to go with 20 pass break-ups and 53 tackles.
Elam has already made a connection with current Bills star corner Tre White. Elam met his new teammate during his official pre-draft visit. They even exchanged phone numbers. ‘
“It was amazing. A blessing,” Elam said Thursday night after the Bills made him the pick. “He told me how much he admires my game. He told me if I need anything to hit him up.”
Elam’s father Abram Elam and his uncle Matt Elam both also played in the NFL. Matt played four years of safety for the Ravens from 2013 to 2016.
Elam is a higher upside player that is worth a swing at pick 23 for the Bills. He’s in a similar boat as Greg Rousseau last year, but significantly less a project.
I thought Elam was a bit grabby and might be a flag magnet in the NFL. He does have an excellent guide for that style of play in White, the former All-Pro, who has a similar game. Elam uses his size well at the line of scrimmage and the press ability is definitely one of his strengths.
He’s a willing tackler, but not a great one. There were multiple plays on tape where Elam is being single blocked by a wideout 15-20 yards downfield.
The ball skills are very good. He’s a guy who can step in day one if needed and play the position if White isn’t immediately ready for the season.
I thought he was more a round two talent, but the Bills have had success drafting corners in the mid-20’s and head coach Sean McDermott tends to be a defensive back savant. This isn’t a home run pick, but I think the Bills have at least a solid single here with a good chance to stretch that hit into extra bases.