ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKNW) — Cornerback was Buffalo's biggest need going into the draft. Bills general manager Brandon Beane joked on Thursday night that he couldn't hide from it. But depending on who you ask, it could have been the only pressing need. There aren't toO many holes to fill on a perennial contender.
Kaiir Elam knew that's what the Bills had built when he walked into the building.
"Once I got to Buffalo and did my visit, I just felt something special," Elam said. "I felt like it was an environment I could go in, and compete, and learn as much as I can. And it just try to have an immediate impact right away."
The 20-year old Florida product racked up 29 tackles, an interception, and five breakups for the Gators as a senior. In the SEC, he faced some of the best wide receivers that college football had to offer. But Elam also knows he has a lot to learn, and tried to pick up some pointers from one of his new teammates the last time he was in Orchard Park.
"I just tried to pick [Tre'Davious White's] brain and learn from him in the short amount of time that we had. But I'm super happy I got to meet him, because he seemed like a super laid back guy," Elam said. "Super knowledgeable. And he felt like a guy I could just go and learn from."
Elam wasn't at the NFL Draft in Las Vegas. Instead, he was at a family friend's home in Florida when his name was called. Buffalo's newest cornerback already learned from his first time at One Bills Drive. But while he's in the air, Elam plans to learn even more.
"I'm super excited to go to work. I told them to put the playbook on the plane," Elam said. "I'm trying to learn as much as I can right away and just get better and contribute to the team."
Elam addressed the Bills Mafia on Twitter.
Immediate contribution at cornerback is going to be imperative for the Bills. Tre'Davious White is still recovering from an ACL tear. Without him, Elam and Dane Jackson are the top of the depth chart.
The crop of wide receivers that Buffalo will face in the AFC East got much better, as well. The Dolphins added speed by trading for Tyreek Hill. The Jets added speed by drafting Garrett Wilson. But speed isn't reserved for the offensive side of the ball. It's a trait that Elam takes pride in.
"I really believe that speed is essential to being a great corner. And that's something I strive to be each and every day. But running to the ball, being able to make a mistake and recover, and just instincts as well to go out and make a play, that's where speed really stands out."