Kaiir Elam has managed to make a big impression on his Buffalo Bills teammates in just a few short weeks.
The rookie cornerback is expected to play a significant role in the upcoming season as Tre’Davious White continues to rehab from a torn ACL and the Bills didn’t take as many efforts to build depth in the secondary as other positions. While it may be a tall task to ask Elam to fill White’s shoes, one teammate believes he’s off to a good start.
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Elam Earns Praise
While the Bills have not had much work yet in real-game scenarios through the abbreviated minicamp, Elam’s work ethic and approach to the game have already made an impression on teammate Micah Hyde. The All-Pro safety said watching Elam reminds him of the approach White took in his rookie season.
“You can already tell he listens. He pays attention,” Hyde said during a video conference with reporters. “You can tell as I’m saying stuff he’s taking mental notes. That’s how Tre’Davious was when he first got here. He was battling on the football field which is what Kaiir is doing, but also just learning from his mistakes and learning from the older guys.”
As Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, Elam made a similar impression on the Bills coaching staff when he arrived at a pre-draft visit with his own notebook filled with notes from his college career at Florida. The Bills invested a first-round draft pick in Elam, even trading up two spots to grab him with the No. 23 overall pick.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott has shared some praise for Elam’s approach so far, noting that he’s proven to be a quick learner.
“He’s been going through the normal rookie growing pains. You have a good play, how do you follow it up with another good play? You have a bad play, how do you reset and come back with a good play? Some of it is mental as much as anything,” McDermott said via video conference.
Big Expectations for Rookie Corner
Elam may need a relatively short learning curve as the season starts. Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he expected the first-round pick to be an early contributor for the defense.
“Frazier says out of the young players Kaiir Elam has stood out and they are expecting him to step up and play well right away,” Bills reporter Maddy Glab tweeted.
It’s not clear just how long White could miss this season. He suffered a torn ACL in the team’s Thanksgiving night game, and rehab for that injury has varied from player to player but has taken up to a full year. White’s recovery could also be complicated by an injury to his meniscus.
Whenever White does return, Hyde is confident that he’ll be better than ever.
“Nobody understands what that dude is doing in the dark,” Hyde said, via Bills reporter Dan Fetes. “I will put every single penny I got on him coming back a better player.”