Buffalo Bills CB competition: Crezdon Butler takes first-team reps

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Crezdon Butler became the sixth Bills cornerback to take first-team reps opposite Stephon Gilmore on Monday - but head coach Doug Marrone is downplaying the rotation at that position.

In 12 Buffalo Bills training camp practices so far this summer, seven different cornerbacks have lined up with the first-team defense. One of them, Stephon Gilmore, is the clear-cut top cornerback on the roster, and has been a mainstay on one side of the field. The other six have all rotated in as the No. 2 cornerback opposite Gilmore.

The latest to do so? Crezdon Butler, who slid into the starting lineup after a strong performance in Sunday's 44-20 exhibition win over the Indianapolis Colts - one which included an interception. Butler maintained his momentum on Monday with a few more nice plays in coverage, according to WGR 550's Joe Buscaglia.

Long-presumed starter Leodis McKelvin, meanwhile, remains sidelined with a groin injury that has kept him off the field since last Monday's full-team scrimmage. The man who opened camp with the first-team offense, Justin Rogers, is only just returning to the field after missing most of the first two weeks with a hamstring injury. Ron Brooks and Nickell Robey have both taken reps outside, but they profile as nickel/dime players in Mike Pettine's system. T.J. Heath took first-team reps early in camp, but has been with the twos and threes since.

This position remains an enigma specifically because McKelvin has been injured; the team gave him a few days to get up to speed early in camp, and he's been the starter when healthy ever since. Bills head coach Doug Marrone downplayed the rotation in an interview on Monday, insisting that it's merely procedural, and that McKelvin will be the starter when he's healthy.

The sheer volume of players taking first-team reps, however, remains one of the more significant stories to come out of training camp this season. Even if you're inclined to believe Marrone about McKelvin (and it's probably safe to do so), the rotation speaks to the lack of proven depth the Bills have at corner, and the coaching staff looking for a player to step up and make plays when called on. Butler may be the first to legitimately do so this summer.

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