2024 NFL Draft, NFL Draft

Bills Elimination Game – Cornerbacks

Featured Photo Credit: Mike Sainristil © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn.com, LLC.

Total Number of Bills-Scouted Players by Position, 2023

Credit: Dean Kindig, www.BuffaloFAMBase.com.

When I first added together all of the Bills-scouted players by position, my eyes bugged out. Besides IDL, more CBs were scouted overall than any other position!!! Could it be that Beane is going to draft a corner? Not so fast, friends: Many of these were scouted before Halloween, the day that Rasul Douglas became a Buffalo Bill.

It’s worth noticing, though; Beane has said you can never have too many corners, especially in this pass-happy phase the league is going through. Would BBB still draft a corner in the first 4 rounds? Ten of the Bills’ most-often-scouted corners are going in that range.

On Beane’s Radar:

49—– Kalen King—McDermott’s buddy, Manny Diaz, moved from Miami to be DC at Penn State, and King’s 90.6 PFF coverage grade and 93.4 grade in single coverage were both the highest for draft-eligible cornerbacks. See also my Best Bet below –King’s wingman, Johnny Dixon.

75 ——Mike Sainristil—Pick-Six 71-yarder vs Rutgers, a scouted game. He also impressed scouts in the Natty (you may recall his INT to seal the deal as well as this perfectly-timed PBU), and in the Big Ten Championship Game, Swiss Army knife. Ideal Taron replacement, hopefully in a year or two. If the Bills don’t re-sign Taron (they should), this pick becomes more of a probability. Another RD4-5 defensive back to watch at the Combine for this position would be Andru Phillips, also scouted, who will likely “win” the triple jump. Daniel Jeremiah loves him.

98 —–D.J. James—Plays opposite N. Pritchett, had 8 PBU’s in 2022 (#10 in SEC); had 10 this year (#3). Both Auburn corners are likely on Beane’s radar if they drop into the 100s.

130—-Nehemiah Pritchett–He’s played lots of CB and NCB in Auburn’s 4-2-5, similar to what the Bills play, and offers kick-return capability. In 2021 was tied (with McCreary) in PDs in the SEC with 10, slipping to #10 with 8 in 2022 and then in 2023 did not play vs. UMass, Cal or Samford due to injury….Just as fast, but has a slighter build than McCreary (6’0″ 179 4.34). If he’s there with your fourth rounder, you’ll review Pritchett’s dossier.

102—-Max Melton—His INT vs Northwestern was a scouted game. Career 28 starts, 59 solos.

Off Beane’s Radar:

36 —–Kamari Lassiter—Comes up big in big games. While Jahmile Addae, the Bills’ new Cornerbacks Coach did work with Lassiter in Georgia in 2021 before moving to LSU, none of Lassiter’s hallmark games was Bills-scouted. Tape’s out there, though, and Addae can add his two cents. It’d be a major surprise is Beane’s roster was so set in stone that he could even consider going CB in RD1-early RD2.

81 —–McKinnley Jackson—suspended in 2021 by the team after he was arrested on two drug charges, including possession of a controlled substance, less than two ounces of marijuana possession, and driving with an invalid license, which is a second-degree felony, unlawful carrying of a weapon, failure to identify/giving false information.

114 —-Tykee Smith–xfer WVU, was being pursued for back rent and garbage. Had a career 50 games, 139 solos… solid in ‘19 & amazing in ‘20 with West Virginia, transferred to Georgia when Addae was there, but injured ’20 and ’21, cross-trained at Star LB and Safety during the 2022 season, only 1 TD & a 31.7 pr allowed vs 3 INTs on 25 targets. He was born and raised a Muslim. Smith lost playing time with the emergence of Javon Bullard.

104 —-Cam Hart–Top 5 in size, but not particularly fast. In 2023, Hart had a sub-average 42% Allowed Completion Rate, but allowed zero TDs. Finished tied for eighth on the team with 42 tackles (25 solo, four TFL), nine pass deflections and two INTs. Low solos per game by Bills’ demanding standards of the past. Last April, Hart was 2 weeks shy of a clean bill of health, he says, from a third career major shoulder injury — two left, one right — this one requiring offseason labrum surgery on his left shoulder and physically limiting his spring football participation to stretching, jogging and non-contact drill work. He sees himself as a RD1 DB…uh, no.

My Best Bet at Cornerback:

RD4—- Johnny Dixon –A transfer from South Carolina, Dixon had an INT in a scouted game vs Illinois, then 3 solos- 1 sack- 1 TFL in a scouted game vs Rutgers. Dixon was used as a backup option behind #1 CB Joey Porter Jr a year ago, and Kalen King as the CB2. Good size and bulk, deep coverage speed, willing to fight through the traffic, take on blocks, and make the tackle. You have Sean McDermott’s Manny Diaz connection, too, as he’s now LB Coach and DC at Penn State. And it’s Terry Pegula’s alma mater.

CBs sorted by number of scouting visits:

CREDIT: Dean Kindig, BuffaloFAMBase.com.

Mike Sainristil with an acquired RD2-3, Josh Wallace late Day 3, and a freefalling McKinstry are all considerations, but again, don’t expect an early CB.

CBs sorted by pre-Combine forty time (CB Tre White=5-11, 192, 4.47):

CREDIT: Dean Kindig, BuffaloFAMBase.com.

CBs sorted by solo tackles per game over career:
CB Chr Benford=105 solos/36 games=2.92
NCB Taron Johnson=123/47=2.62
CB Ra Douglas=55/24=2.29
CB Tre White=111/49=2.27
CB Dane Jackson=113/50=2.26

CREDIT: Dean Kindig, BuffaloFAMBase.com.

IF you count Cooper DeJean as a CB, there are only 3 corners in the draft that had more solo tackles per game in college than Taron Johnson: DeJean, Dwight McGlothern, and Tarheeb Still (who can play CB, NCB, FS and KR). Now, Josh Wallace, Clarence Lewis (Combine snub), Kamal Hadden, and Jarvis Brownlee come close. A name not on here is Qwan’tez Stiggers, DROY of the CFL”s Toronto Argonauts. Still and Stiggers are great wild-card guesses.

Editor’s babble: These “Elimination Games” by Dean Kindig are liquid gold. We are blessed to publish them here. You can also find Dean on Twitter @TCBILLS_Astro.

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