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Buffalo Bills used Senior Bowl less in 2022 than 2021

With pandemic restrictions lifted, the Bills were able to rely more on boots on the ground again.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

In previous years, the Buffalo Bills have relied on the Senior Bowl for a large number of their NFL Draft picks. Last year, following the COVID-altered season of 2020, a whopping five of their eight picks played in the postseason college game getting ready for the 2021 NFL Draft while another was a UDFA signing. For many, it was the first time the Bills were actually able to see them in person because of the restrictions.

In 2022, it wasn’t such a heavy reliance, as the scouting department was able to get back on the road following the COVID-19 lockdowns. Wide receiver Khalil Shakir and linebacker Terrel Bernard were the only two players taken by the Bills that were at the Senior Bowl.

Running back James Cook initially accepted the offer to play in the Senior Bowl before pulling out.

“I’m going to [improve my 40-yard dash time],” Cook told “But I didn’t pull out of the Senior Bowl just because of my 40. I pulled out of the Senior Bowl because I felt like everybody had seen me play at the highest level—and I won a national championship, and I played a lot of football. So, I felt like I’d showcase my talent at the combine.”

After the 2021 Draft’s second day, Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane mentioned that players who made the decision to turn down invitations to the Bowl game were not looked upon as highly as those who decided join in. It didn’t seem to impact Cook.

Kair Elam, Matt Araiza, and Luke Tenuta weren’t eligible since they didn’t have enough college experience. Baylon Spector played in the Shrine Bowl. Christian Benford wasn’t invited from his spot at FCS Villanova.

The Bills typically like better-developed prospects past round 1, where they tend to draft younger players. More experience can typically means a higher floor, since you have more college tape to work with.