With a deep, talented defensive secondary, many would assume that the Buffalo Bills are a team that has a number of high draft choices in that particular level of the defense. We fans know, however, that isn’t exactly the case. Just two players in the secondary are first-round draft choices, and of the projected five starters (counting the nickel corner), there is a former fourth-round pick, a former fifth-round pick, and a former seventh-round pick among them.
In fact, over the last five seasons, the Bills have started a player at corner who was drafted in the fifth round or later in nearly every game. Buffalo’s coaching staff is fantastic at developing secondary players, so some of those young, unknown, undrafted, undervalued types end up contributing to the team’s stellar defense.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss a second-year man who joined the team as an undrafted rookie last year.
Name: Olaijah Griffin
Height/Weight: 6’ 175 lbs
Age: 23 (24 on 3/10/2024)
Experience/Draft: 1; signed with Buffalo following the 2021 NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Griffin signed a reserve/futures contract at the end of the 2021 season. That two-year pact is worth a total of $1.575 million. For the 2022 season, Griffin carries a salary cap hit of $705,000 if he makes the roster. There are no guarantees in the deal, so he can be cut without any dead-cap charge.
2021 Recap: Griffin spent the entire season with the Bills, but once the preseason came to a close, he was a practice squad player only. He did play in all three preseason games last year, notching four tackles and a tackle for loss in his time on the field. Once the season was over, Griffin signed his reserve/futures contract.
Positional outlook: Griffin is one of many corners vying for space on the roster. Tre’Davious White is still working his way back from an ACL tear, and the Bills added Kaiir Elam via the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Dane Jackson, Taron Johnson, Siran Neal, Nick McCloud, and Cam Lewis all return from last year, as does Tim Harris, who was on the practice squad with Griffin last season. Christian Benford, Travon Fuller, and Ja’Marcus Ingram round out the group.
2022 Offseason: Griffin is healthy and has participated in OTAs to date.
2022 Season outlook: Buffalo typically keeps fewer corners on the roster than I would like to see them carry—more often than not, they end up with five when I’d like to see them have at least six—so that doesn’t bode well for Griffin’s chances at making the roster. Even if the team keeps an extra guy, whether they’re trying to rest White on his way back to full health or he begins on the PUP list. In any case, the locks for the roster are White, Elam, and Johnson, and I feel pretty confident in moving both Jackson and Neal into that same category. That means Griffin is fighting for one potential spot with a whole host of others. Without a huge preseason, he’ll probably be a practice squad invite again.