Bills Projected to Cut 2023 Draft Pick in Surprise Move

Alex Austin

Getty Alex Austin participates in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

The Buffalo Bills added to their secondary depth with the team’s final pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, but the player they snagged could now face a battle to make the final roster.

In his early projection of the final 53-man roster, Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News predicted that the Bills would cut seventh-round draft pick Alex Austin. The Oregon State cornerback will be part of a tough competition in a position where the team has made some considerable investments over the past two years, and Skurski believes he could be one of the odd ones out.

‘None of the Cuts Will Be Easy’

Skurski noted that the Bills have “enviable” depth at cornerback, with former All-Pro Tre’Davious White entering the season healthy after missing the start of last season while recovering from a torn ACL. The Buffalo News writer noted that there will be a “spirited competition” for the other starting cornerback spot, with second-year Kaiir Elam expected to take the job.

Fellow 2022 draft pick Christian Benford, who started five games last season, is also expected to play a significant role in the secondary along with veterans Dane Jackson and nickel corner Taron Johnson. The Bills also value the veteran leadership and special teams contribution of Siran Neal, who is also projected to return to the 53-man roster.

Beyond the top six, the Bills will be faced with some difficult decisions and will likely be forced to part ways with some otherwise talented players, Skurski wrote. That could leave Austin on the outside looking in.

“In this projection, the team is cutting a draft pick (Austin), a former third-round draft pick who has made 26 career starts and is just 24 years old (Cameron Dantzler Dantzler) and two players the organization has spent significant time developing (Ja’Marcus Ingram and Cam Lewis),” he wrote. “None of those cuts will be easy to make, but the projected top six all have defined roles.”

Buffalo Bills High on Alex Austin’s Potential

If the Bills do part ways with Austin at final cutdowns, he would likely be a strong candidate to return to the practice squad. Bills general manager Brandon Beane spoke highly of him after the NFL Draft, saying he was seen as a player likely to contribute to the team this year.

“Austin at the end, you’re kind of coming down to ‘who’s got the best chance to help?’” Beane said, via’s Bills Central. “We just hadn’t had a defensive back, so we liked him and what we think he can add to the team.”

The report added that the Bills were impressed by Austin during a meeting at the NFL Combine, where the prospect showed off his “football smarts” to complement his strong college career where he logged 104 tackles, four interceptions, and 17 pass breakups over the last two seasons at Oregon State.

Austin also spoke highly of the Bills, saying he was excited to join fellow Oregon State alum Jordan Poyer in Buffalo’s secondary.

“I’m excited to be able to get up there and work with him, be beside him and be able to learn some things from him,” Austin said, via “I know he’s been in the league for a very long time and he’s a veteran, so I look forward to just taking on the little bro role and getting to learn and soak up as much knowledge as I can from him.”

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