Orchard Park, N.Y. (WGR 550) - Running back in the first round would have flown in the face of conventional wisdom and smart drafting.
Linebacker would have been a replacement pick for a year down the road.
Wide receiver? Perhaps, but plenty of good ones can be found later.
Simply put, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane didn't overthink it.
With the 23rd pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, he made the pick that made the most sense for his team, not the one that would have caused more buzz around Western New York on Friday morning.
One look at their roster headed into Thursday night will tell you the Bills needed another cornerback. Sure, they could use other positions, but this was the one with the biggest question marks. A few of them, really.
What will Tre'Davious White's health status be to start the season? Can Dane Jackson be an every-week, 17-game starter? Where's the depth outside?
We still won't know the answer to the first two for a while, but Kaiir Elam helps answer the third.
After Levi Wallace left via free agency to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Bills needed more help at the outside cornerback position. Elam will not only provide that, but have a chance to start right away.
Elam is fast, running a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He can play man-to-man and is good in zone coverage. The Bills run a zone heavy scheme and he could fit right into it.
Beane told the media late Thursday night that Elam was the last player remaining on their board with a first round grade, which is why he moved up two spots to get him, costing the Bills a fourth round choice (130 overall).
At just over 6-foot-1 and 191 pounds, Elam has the perfect size to play the boundary in the NFL, and help support in the run game when needed. However, Beane said his tackling needs some work, and that's something they'll work on with him when he gets to Buffalo.
Whereas Wallace was beaten a bit too often on contested catches, Elam excelled in making sure that didn't happen while at Florida.
Elam is also young. He'll turn 21-years-old in one week.
He also has great bloodlines. His dad, Abram, was a standout player at the University of Notre Dame and had a seven-year NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Kansas City Chiefs. His uncle, Matt, was a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.
While none of this guarantees he'll start right away or even be a solid NFL player, Beane is banking on him not only being the smart choice, but the right one.
They needed the position. They valued the player. Beane didn't overthink it.
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