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NFL Draft Opinion: Buffalo Bills can address defensive back positions in 2021

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The corner and big nickel positions are loaded in the 2021 NFL Draft

The Buffalo Bills elected not to use draft capital on a defensive back until pick 239 in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Buffalo Rumblings writer and podcast co-host Bruce Nolan of The Nick & Nolan Show, went on record multiple times as having the Bills address CB2 early in the draft. Joe Marino, the host of the Locked On: Bills podcast and a writer at The Draft Network agreed with this sentiment wholeheartedly in their joint podcasts leading up to the draft. However, the Bills seemingly disagreed with their pleas to address a position currently slated to be a battle between old faces Levi Wallace and E.J. Gaines with newly acquired Josh Norman entering the mix.

There was a lot of hype pre-draft hype centered around the Bills selecting safety Kyle Dugger (Lenoir-Rhyne) with their second-round pick after visiting with him three times. Additional buzz reverberated when the Bills promoted Jim Salgado to a “nickel coach” role. A move that seems to imply the Bills intend to prioritize the “nickel” position within their defense. Of course, the New England Patriots selected Kyle Dugger with pick 37 last month. So, in reality, the Bills never had a chance to draft Dugger since they picked 17 slots later than the Patriots. The only other highly touted potential Big Nickel in this class was safety Jeremy Chinn out of Southern Illinois. The Bills elected to pass on him for A.J. Epenesa and Chinn was selected by the Carolina Panthers at pick 64.

Bills fans should keep calm about the future of these two positions. The 2021 NFL Draft is absolutely loaded at corner and safeties with the potential to play Big Nickel. It’s always an unsafe practice to project who may be declaring for drafts in the future before many players have played their junior and senior seasons, These defensive groups appear to be a couple of the strongest for the 2021 draft class.

Here are just some of the names for Bills fans to get familiar with, including some exciting NFL legacy players:

Cornerbacks

  • Shaun Wade, RS (Redshirt) Junior, Ohio State
  • Patrick Surtain II, Junior, Alabama (Son of former NFL corner Patrick Surtain)
  • Jaycee Horn, Junior, South Carolina (Son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn)
  • Israel Mukuamu, Junior, South Carolina
  • Paulson Adebo, Senior, Stanford
  • Eric Stokes, RS Junior, Georgia
  • Caleb Farley, RS Junior, Virginia Tech
  • Derion Kendrick, Junior, Clemson
  • Asante Samuel Jr., Junior, Florida State (Son of former NFL corner Asante Samuel)
  • Derion Kendrick, Junior, Clemson
  • Marco Wilson, RS Junior, Florida (Brother of NFL corner Quincy Wilson)

Big Nickel

Along with other names certain to emerge on the scene during the 2020 college football season, these are some of the baseline names to consider if you’re looking to enjoy college football this year with a Bills-centric frame of mind. If Bills fans are hoping for an upgrade opposite of Tre’Davious White or want some new flair with the addition of a quality “big nickel” in the defense, keep these names in the back of your mind.