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2021 NFL Draft: Finding a partner for Tre’Davious White at cornerback

Finding a tag-team partner for Tre’Davious White, and upgrade to Levi Wallace, should be a priority

After going undrafted in 2018 and enduring multiple attempts by the Buffalo Bills to provide him with veteran competition, Levi Wallace has stood strong as one of the more resilient members of the team by remaining the starter at cornerback opposite Tre’Davious White. However, his time may come this offseason after struggling for stretches of the 2020 season, particularly against taller, more physical pass catchers. Given those struggles from the Restricted Free Agent Wallace and with Josh Norman heading to free agency, Buffalo might be looking for any additions to the cornerback room through the draft.

Although perhaps lacking elite talent, this year’s corner class will have depth throughout the middle of the draft, which I believe will allow Buffalo to provide additional competition at the position. Below are just a few of the players the Bills might consider.

Tier I

Partick Surtain II (Alabama)
Jaycee Horn (South Carolina)
Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech)

Tall, polished and smart, Surtain is the cream of the crop this year, even if his athleticism isn’t as eye-opening as the top corners from past drafts. Corners who are 6’1” and 205 lbs rarely show the flexibility that Horn regularly demonstrates, which makes him a valuable fit for either man or zone coverages. Farley has more than enough pure, raw athleticism, but his stiffness may lead him to being a man-coverage specialist.

Tier II

Aaron Robinson (UCF)
Asante Samuel Jr. (Florida State)
Greg Newsome II (Northwestern)
Shaun Wade (Ohio State)

Robinson has worn multiple hats for UCF, with the physicality of a safety-corner hybrid, and the twitchiness of a slot corner. He’ll be a riser late in the process. Samuel started the season on fire, but his size and physical limitations caught up with him. He’s still a wickedly smart, savvy player. One of the reason’s Northwestern’s defense was so suffocating, Newsome excels are redirecting receivers at the line and at the top of their routes. You wish he wouldn’t be so grabby though. Wade was tested as an outside option all season by the Buckeyes, and really didn’t excel. He’s still more athlete than player at this point.

Tier III

Eric Stokes (Georgia)
Paulson Adebo (Stanford)
Elijah Molden (Washington)
Deommodore Lenoir (Oregon)

Although he’s usually in perfect position on most plays, Stokes struggles at the catch point and has been abused by receivers there at certain junctions. A 2020 opt-out, Adebo will be riding his hyped play as a sophomore, but injuries and lack of tape are a major concern.

With his instincts and acceleration Molden should be ranked much higher on this list, but his small stature at 5’9” or 5’10” means his upside as a complete player is limited. A number-one-rated athlete in high school, he has all the talent in the world but really lacks physicality and instincts throughout his game.