Ever since White went down with an torn ACL, the question has been unanswered… until now? Rookie Kaiir Elam is ready to make an impact, and in a big way.
Not Tre Day Just Yet…
There was speculation all offseason, and now we have our definitive answer. Tre’Davious White will not be starting game one against the Rams, but instead will start the year on the PUP list, meaning he is eligible to return for game five.
With White’s side of the field now essentially vacated, where will DC Leslie Frazier go with his secondary? Well, we must not forget about the newly drafted and highly coveted corner that the Bills drafted in 2022, Kaiir Elam. Elam has been impressive in camp and the preseason, making play after play, showcasing elite ball skills already, and giving Bills Mafia a reason not to worry just yet.
Impressing Bills’ Execs
Since White was drafted in 2017, the former LSU Tiger has proven to be a perennial Pro Bowl talent, and Elam has expressed his inclination to learn from his soon-to-be cornerback partner in Buffalo. In fact, Elam had been grabbing the attention of the Bills organization ever since the pre-draft interview.
When Florida Gator cornerback Kaiir Elam met with the Buffalo Bills for his pre-draft interview, he pulled out all the stops to impress GM Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott. He asked them if they wanted to see his mixtape from his college career and pulled out not only that but also notes he had taken down to make him a better player. McDermott was instantly floored by the young Elam and immediately agreed to see what the Palm Beach native had for them.
After thinking things over, Beane and McDermott made their selection on Draft night, bringing the former Gator to Buffalo. When they called Kaiir to tell him they were flying him out to Buffalo to meet everyone, he asked them “if they could put the playbook on the plane.” That’s right. A twenty-year-old kid, who was just drafted and had a chance to live out his dream, was not worried about anything in that moment except getting himself as ready as he could to work, learn everything he needed to, and make the organization that drafted him proud.
Kaiir Elam knows the ins and outs of being a professional much more than the other DBs in his class. His father was Abram Elam, a safety in the NFL, who played for seven years and retired in 2012. Kaiir is also the nephew of current safety Matt Elam, who has been around the league for nine seasons and is now a free agent. With football running throughout the family, Kaiir has more than enough knowledge already to equip him for a strong start to his career.
Elam is a big cornerback, standing six foot two and weighing just under two hundred pounds. His 4.39 speed makes him a force to be reckoned with in man coverage because he has recovery abilities like no other player in his draft class.
How He Fits In
In fact, because he played in the FBS, there were plenty of top-tier college receivers he had to play against. Elam did not disappoint, finishing his college career with a 24% force incompletion rate, and a knack for playing man and press coverage that draft experts said were second to none. And this is where Elam playing in Buffalo will allow him to reach new heights and bounds that could make him a Pro Bowl talent in his first two seasons.
Playing alongside All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White, All-Pro safety Jordan Poyer and Pro Bowl safety Micah Hyde makes Elam’s job that much easier. With hardly any pressure on him to guard the best player, the opposing offense has to offer; Elam will slot into his role quickly and smoothly right away.
Because of his fantastic speed, he can afford to back off from receivers and recover with ease. Opposing quarterbacks will also not want to throw the deep ball on him, because not only will either Hyde or Poyer be back to make a play, the aforementioned 4.29 speed of Elam creates situations where he actually gets to the ball faster than the receiver does.
At UF, they referred to Kaiir’s side as “Elam Island ”. In Buffalo, Elam Island won’t have to do nearly as much as he was asked to at Florida to gain that status, as the players he has around him will instantly take the pressure off of him and avert it to the quarterback who has nowhere to throw the football, with most of the field covered at all times.