The Buffalo Bills revamped their secondary in 2017, and the success of that group played a tremendous role in breaking the team’s seventeen-year playoff drought. While there has been some turnover at the position leading in to 2018, the majority of the key players remain the same. Roster spots for depth players, however, are very much up for grabs.
In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at a corner with solid upside and good length for Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier’s zone-heavy cover scheme.
Name: Breon Borders
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 189 lbs.
Draft: UDFA; signed with Oakland Raiders May 5, 2017
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Borders is in the second year of a three-year deal worth a total of $1.665 million. In 2018, he will count $555,000 against the salary cap if he makes the roster.
2017 Recap: After signing with Oakland as an undrafted free agent, Borders had a strong training camp with the club. He was briefly installed as the team’s number one slot corner, usurping veteran Sean Smith’s job for a time. He did not have strong showings in preseason games, however, and he was ultimately waived by the Raiders when they cut down to 53 players. He was a member of Oakland’s practice squad until December, when Buffalo signed him on December 16. He was a healthy scratch for the remainder of the season with the Bills.
Positional outlook: The top of Buffalo’s depth chart here is fairly strong, with second-year man Tre’Davious White looking to improve upon a phenomenal rookie season. New to the secondary are veterans Vontae Davis and Philip Gaines, replacing the departed E.J. Gaines and Leonard Johnson. White, Davis, and Gaines figure to top the depth chart, leaving Borders to battle third-year man Lafayette Pitts, fourth-round draft pick Taron Johnson, and undrafted free agents Levi Wallace and Ryan Carter for the dime corner position, as well as a reserve/special teams role.
2018 Offseason: Little has been written about Borders so far, but he will be a name to watch in training camp. His college pedigree is solid, as he intercepted 12 passes and had 34 pass breakups in his four years at Duke.
2018 season outlook: You can never have enough corners, and Borders must possess traits that the coaching staff likes, as they kept him on the 53-man roster last year even when other positional groups dealt with injuries. The addition of Johnson through the draft in round four makes it more difficult to see Borders cracking the top-four in terms of playing time, but expecting veteran Vontae Davis to make it through the season injury-free is asking a lot at this point. Davis has not played 16 games since 2015, and he missed time during the 2017 season with a groin injury before the Indianapolis Colts released him in November. With Pitts having contributed on special teams last season, Borders will have to make an impact in both the defense and the special teams facets of the game in order to stick at the back end of the roster in 2018.