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Bolstering the Secondary: More options at No. 54

Noah Igbinoghene
Posted at 4:29 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 16:29:37-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Bills' pass defense in 2019 was one of the team's strengths; Buffalo has all-pro cornerback Tre'Davious White to thank for that. But his partner on the other side, normally Levi Wallace or Kevin Johnson, left a lot to be desired.

So the Bills already addressed that. Early in the new league year they signed former Redskins cornerback Josh Norman. He's got an all-pro nod to his credit as well while playing for McDermott in Carolina. E.J. Gaines is also back for his second stint in Buffalo.

But Norman's on a one-year deal. The experiment could lead to the best CB tandem in the league. But it could also lead to headaches and a poor fit with Sean McDermott's culture. As far as Gaines, if he was effective, he likely wouldn't have been allowed to leave Buffalo. Now, he's 28 years old.

Another corner to develop on a rookie deal would be a commodity. If the Norman experiment works out, he could be relegated to the slot for a few years. But anyone available at 54th overall on Friday will likely be an upgrade over Gaines or Wallace.

Alabama's Trevon Diggs is the picture perfect scenario because of his versatility and his relationship to newly acquired WR Stefon Diggs. However, Buffalo would have to trade up into the first round to grab him. If he won't be an instant starter, moving up for the younger Diggs isn't worth the cost.

Noah Igbinoghene is a receiver-turned-corner out of Auburn. He's demonstrated incredible ball skills due to his former position and jams his man well at the line of scrimmage. As someone who's relatively new to the position, the crop of veterans in the room could help Igbinoghene blossom into a long-term partner for Tre'Davious White.

Another SEC product worth looking at in the second round is Cameron Dantzler. He had two interceptions and eight breakups for Mississippi State in 2019. Dantzler's physicality in coverage could draw a lot of flags early in his career, and he doesn't match the physicality when helping in the running game.

Virginia's Bryce Hall adds value as a possibility at nickel as well; he measured in at 6'1" and 202 pounds at the combine and flashed ability to make plays in the backfield at Virginia. The four-year starter led the FBS with 22 pass breakups in 2018, but played only six games this past season before having surgery on his ankle.

Whether it's injuries, being relatively new to the position, or tendencies in coverage downfield, all of the options in the second round for the Bills would provide some sort of upgrade on the outside and benefit from learning from a veteran room.

Norman, Gaines, and Wallace are all looking at contract years in 2020. If the Bills take a corner in the second or third round on Friday, it's very likely that only one, if any at all, will be back in Western New York in 2021.

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