Former Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam drafted 23rd overall by Buffalo Bills
Former Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft Thursday night in Las Vegas.
The Bills traded up two spots with the Baltimore Ravens, sending picks 25 and 130 for the 23rd pick. According to reports, the Bills spoke to Elam at the NFL Combine so he was on their early-offseason radar.
Following a promising freshman season with the Florida program, Elam — a Riviera Beach, Fla., native — started 21 games combined between the next two seasons.
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He finished his sophomore campaign with 39 tackles (28 solo), 1.0 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups and one fumble recovery, resulting in Elam being selected to the All-SEC first team in 2020.
A minor knee injury limited Elam to just nine games in 2021, and he’d finish the season with 29 tackles (16 solo), 1.5 tackles-for-loss, five pass breakups and an interception.
Elam’s father, Abram Elam, played seven seasons in the NFL from 2005 until 2012, while Elam’s uncle, Matt Elam, also played football at Florida before becoming a first-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. Nine years later, the similarities between Kaiir and Matt continue.
Bills GM talks about trading up
Following Elam's selection, Bills general manager Brandon Beane discussed the trade that brought Elam to Buffalo with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
“We had had a good grade on Kaiir and we were down to one player in the first round on our board, and so at that point, it just made sense,” Beane told the Rochester paper. “Not sure what those teams would have taken, but there was a lot of trade action going on, too, so you don’t have to look at just what they might take, you got to look at the teams behind them. So it just felt like it was within striking distance.”
Rather than simply take the best player available, Beane acknowledged the Bills' lack of depth at the cornerback spot was a significant factor in Elam's selection.
“Obviously I’ve been hearing it loud and clear," Beane joked.
Elam, the fourth and last cornerback selected in the first round Thursday, said his visit to Buffalo was impressive, and he's eager to start his NFL development.
“When I went to my visit in Buffalo, I don’t know what it was, I just felt special,” Elam told the Democrat and Chronicle. “I’m super excited. I told them to put the playbook on the plane so I can get ready to contribute to the team. I want to get started right away.”
The NFL Draft will resume at 7 p.m. Friday (rounds 2-3) and noon Saturday (rounds 4-7) and will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network.