The three-year starter comes to the Bills with a minimal injury history and the ability to play immediately. While the Bills never want to go into the draft needing a player, they did need to add someone at cornerback with the continued recovery of CB Tre’Davious White from his torn ACL. They get a cost-controlled elite player who should pair up well when White returns. This is especially important as the free-agent cornerback market was a little too rich for the Bills to participate in this offseason.
Buffalo got the guy they wanted, giving up their first-round pick (25) and an additional fourth-round pick (130) to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for pick 23, where they selected Elam. Below is Kaiir Elam’s publicly known injury history.
Kaiir Elam Injury History
2018 — Hamstring strain, side not specified. Suffered during senior year in the regional semifinal game against American Heritage-Delray.
2021 — Right knee sprain. Elam sustained the injury against Alabama on 9/18 and missed the following three games (Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt).
Bills Injury Impact
There isn’t much to Kaiir Elam’s injury history. Elam appeared in 35 games during his time at Florida. He missed three total games over his three years all due to a knee sprain in 2021.
Addressing the hamstring strain in high school, that was nearly four years ago after suffering the injury during a playoff game loss. It was severe enough to not continue playing in that game, but unknown if it was injured enough to force him out of additional games.
Regarding his knee sprain, this was most likely an MCL sprain, which is very common amongst football players. He missed three games as a result and was possibly still not 100% even upon returning to play the remainder of the season. Digging deeper, analyzing prospects in the NFL Combine, 40.8% of participants had a history of MCL sprains at some point, making it the most common knee injury recorded.
The MCL sprain does not predispose him to any further injuries and the Bills physically assessed the knee along with imaging to ensure no lingering issues.
Furthermore, when looking at injuries observed in NFL training camps over a ten-year period, knee sprains and hamstring strains were the most common. Elam suffered his injuries at different points of each season, but it’s worth noting that hamstring and knee sprains are very common amongst all players. He also didn’t exhibit a recurrence of either injury based on what is publicly available.
There isn’t any concern for Elam as he transitions to the NFL based on his past medical history. Due to the increase in the level of competition, we may see him deal with some acclimation injuries initially such as calf, hamstring, or groin tightness during training camp, but his risk to suffer further injury due to past injuries is very low.
The selection of Elam further reinforces the Buffalo Bills' selection of players with minimal injury risks in the first round. Here is an article from last season from Buffalo Rumblings followed by an update at Banged Up Bills detailing their drafting tendencies when selecting players.
While there were players that the Bills had rated higher, they were already gone. However, they still got their man at their expected draft grade, not having to reach. The front office had a plan to address positions of need and they stuck to it on Day 1 of the draft.