Bills CB Makes Position Change in First Official Depth Chart

Nick McCloud

Getty Nick McCloud looks to make a tackle in a preseason game.

The Buffalo Bills are adding some depth at safety by making a position change for a second-year cornerback.

The team released the first officials 2022 depth chart on August 8, showing that now-former cornerback Nick McCloud was listed as a third-string safety. McCloud had been playing at safety during offseason practices, and the Bills made the move official on Monday.

The change could give McCloud a bigger opportunity to shine, as starting safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer had been hampered by injuries at training camp.

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McCloud Tries Out New Position

McCloud joined the Bills last season as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, though was cut at the end of the preseason and signed by the Cincinnati Bengals. He appeared in two games before being waived in November, and came back to Buffalo as a member of the practice squad. The Bills moved him to the active roster for the divisional round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but McCloud ultimately didn’t suit up.

As WROC’s AJ Feldman noted, McCloud has looked strong through offseason workouts, making several interceptions in his new position. He also earned the praise of Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who said McCloud is showing good improvement.

“Nick has been a pleasant surprise up to this point,” Frazier told WROC. “We’re pleased with his progress. We liked some of the things he did last year in training camp and this year he’s better.”

Frazier added that McCloud has done a good job transitioning to safety, and the next hurdle will be proving he can handle the more physical position. McCloud seems eager for the challenge.

“Whatever I can do to help the team win, that’s what I’m going to do,”  McCloud told WROC. “Me being a high-football IQ player, that’s definitely helping me a lot.”


Opportunity in the Preseason

McCloud may soon have a chance to prove himself soon. All-Pro safety Jordan Poyer suffered an elbow injury during training camp practice on August 3 and will miss some time as he recovers. While Poyer is expected to be back in time for the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams on September 8, it could mean an opportunity for McCloud to see some earlier playing time during the preseason.

Frazier said the team will be using training camp and preseason games to look more closely at the backups at safety, including Jaquan Johnson and Damar Hamlin.

“We get a chance to watch those guys in game-like situations and be able to determine who’s going to be our third safety if something were to happen to Micah or Jordan, or we want to take them out of a game because we have a big lead or whatever,” Frazier said, via ESPN. “How are those guys going to perform? So, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, they’re getting more reps and it really helps us from an evaluation standpoint, and they both have accepted it very, very well. They’re kind of neck and neck right now which is not a bad thing.”

There could be a larger opportunity for McCloud over the long term. Poyer has requested a new contract extension, and if the Bills are unable to come to terms then he would become a free agent next year.

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