The growth of the passing game in the NFL and the accompanying increase of multiple-receiver sets have redefined what it means to be a starter in the NFL at many positions, including cornerback. The Buffalo Bills had three corners play more than half of their defensive snaps last season, four who played more than a third, and five who played at least a quarter of them.
That said, while today’s player might not start every game, he’s in line to be a significant contributor in the defense this year.
Name: Kevon Seymour
Height/Weight: 6’, 185 lbs.
Draft: Round 6, Pick 218 by the Buffalo Bills (2016)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Seymour is entering year two of his four-year rookie contract. He’ll make $540,000 this year with $90,000 raises in each of the next two years. There is a minimal dead money hit if the Bills cut him loose.
2016 Recap: After missing the season opener due to a hamstring injury, Seymour saw time with the defense in every game last season, starting three of them. He peaked with 69 snaps against the Oakland Raiders in Week 13, a game that Ronald Darby missed due to injury. In all, he recorded 14 tackles and three pass breakups last year. He also led all rookies in coverage snaps per reception allowed, according to PFF, giving up a catch about once every 15 times he dropped into coverage.
Positional Outlook: With the starting cornerback spots probably locked up already, Seymour is in the pole position to take over for the departed Nickell Robey-Coleman as the third corner on the depth chart. He could supplant Tre’Davious White on the outside if he has a strong preseason and the staff wants to use White primarily in the slot, but that’s an unlikely scenario.
2017 Offseason: Sean McDermott has been singing Seymour’s praises during minicamps this offseason. He’s acknowledging that Seymour is probably third on the depth chart, but he also notes that the frequent use of 3+ receiver sets makes the nickel corner “a starting position in out defense.”
2017 Season Outlook: This season is going to be an important one in Seymour’s development. He had an up-and-down rookie season but looked like someone with a future in the NFL. He played in a little over a quarter of the Bills’ snaps last season, a number that should rise significantly if he’s up to the challenge this year.