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Look back: “The Bills won’t draft a first-round cornerback in 2022”

Self-reporting a freezing cold take

The Buffalo Bills selected cornerback Kaiir Elam in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. We didn’t predict Elam, but we mocked a cornerback to the Bills this offseason in the SB Nation Writers’ mock draft and scouted a whole bunch of them.

None of that is funny, but what I wrote last year was certainly humorous in hindsight. Buffalo didn’t upgrade at cornerback at all in the 2021 Draft. We now know that’s because their grades were lower on CBs across the board, so they bumped them up in 2022, but last year I was not happy.

Let’s check in on 2021 Matt:

The Bills aren’t going to pick a cornerback in the first round, even though Levi Wallace, Taron Johnson and Siran Neal will be free agents. I’m done mocking CBs to them until Tre’Davious White retires. If they didn’t take a CB with one of their top four picks this year, they aren’t going to take one next year. They prioritized swing tackle (Spencer Brown) over CB2 in 2021. They picked a fourth tackle before a cornerback last weekend.

Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane has shown over and over again that CB2 is not a priority position for them. They are content with being passable at that position opposite a premiere CB1. A former UDFA and a seventh-round pick are the plan for 2021, so expect a mid-round cornerback a year from now as they replenish the potential loss of Wallace, Johnson, and Neal.

Buffalo re-signed Johnson and Neal after I wrote that, but Wallace is gone.

The Bills did spend a sixth-round pick on a cornerback, too, but they also upgraded at that CB2 spot. Perhaps the injury to Tre’Davious White was enough to move the needle, but a reaction like that over White potentially missing a couple months of the season seems like overkill.

Instead of CB2, I suggested the Bills may address center, 1-tech defensive tackle, or tight end in the first round. They ended up extending Mitch Morse after a solid 2021 season and adding multiple 1-techs and a tight end in free agency.

Even though I eventually came back around to cornerback this offseason (it made way too much sense for roster building and the team’s financials in the long term), I still need to report myself to the Bureau of Cold Takes.