Buffalo added youth to its secondary in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and traded a fourth-round pick in order to get the cornerback it wanted.
The Bills moved up two spots to select Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam with the No. 23 overall pick following a trade that sent their No. 25 and 130 selections to the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore used the 25th pick on Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane explained his decision to move up and take Elam, citing a need to add depth at the position.
"We looked at some guys in free agency this year] that got out of our price range," said Beane on Thursday night, per [buffalorumblings.com. "We knew going into this draft there were some guys that could fit us."
Buffalo adds a ready-to-play rookie to a secondary that lost Levi Wallace to free agency this offseason. Teaming up with Pro Bowl CB Tre'Davious White, who will be working to come back from an ACL tear, Elam is poised to gain the necessary guidance to make the transition into the NFL. With the selection of Elam, the Bills have now used five of their last six first-round selections on defense since Sean McDermott took over as head coach in 2017.
Elam's size and athleticism make him the ideal press corner needed in Buffalo. With a 6-foot-2, 191-pound frame, Elam displayed his speed at the NFL Scouting Combine by clocking a 4.39-second 40-yard dash. Elam's long reach adds to his potential of becoming a lockdown corner who can disrupt balls up for grabs.
Elam missed three games as a junior in 2021 with a knee injury, but still started 10 games, tallying 29 tackles, 1.5 for loss, one interception and five passes defensed. During his three seasons at Florida, Elam totaled 78 tackles, five interceptions and 20 passes defensed.
A chip off the old block, Kaiir adds to a list of Elams that played in the NFL. His father Abram Elam spent seven seasons in the league while his uncle Matt Elam was drafted in the first round by the Ravens in 2013.