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The Battle for CB2: Dane Jackson vs. Kaiir Elam

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The Buffalo Bills drafted Kaiir Elam with the expectation that he’d be their CB2 of the future. However, with Tre White expected to miss some time early this season, fans will likely see Elam and Dane Jackson start on the boundary. But, once Tre comes back, who will keep their starting duties? The third-year corner or the first round pick that’s drawing all the hype? Both are solid CB2 options and the Bills will need to take all the time they can to figure that out.

Kaiir Elam

Standing at 6’1” with a 76 1/2” wingspan, Elam’s length was a big thing at mini-camp last month. Pairing that with a 4.39 40-yard dash, Elam has everything you want out of a cornerback going into his rookie year. In college, Elam’s 55.6 passer rating was the 3rd-lowest among SEC corners since 2019.

Adding a lockdown player like Elam to a secondary with Tre White, who didn’t allow a TD through the early years of his career, could give the Bills the best secondary in the league. He also had a good start to summer practices, picking off Josh Allen on day two of mini-camp.

It seems as if Elam has already won over the locker room, with safety Micah Hyde comparing him to a then-rookie Tre White.

“You can already tell he listens. He pays attention. 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.”

Micah Hyde on rookie CB Kaiir Elam (Courtesy of WGR550)

Dane Jackson

Jackson has been a solid corner since entering the league. In eight career starts, the 2020 seventh round pick has recorded one interception and allowed just 409 yards and two touchdowns. After White tore his ACL last year, the Bills relied heavily on Dane at CB2. And he played very well for someone as young and raw as he is.

This year, the Bills may not need him in that role after Tre comes back. Dane should be able to excel as a backup boundary CB behind White and Elam, cleaning up opposing backup receivers.

Prediction

Dane’s experience as a starter in this system will be what puts him over Elam initially. But he will have to show up and outperform the first round rookie every day in practice if he wants to retain the CB2 post after Tre gets back.

PFF BUF Bills on Twitter: “Most coverage snaps played without allowing a touchdown last season1️⃣ Nik Needham: 4142️⃣ Tre’Davious White: 4033️⃣ Dane Jackson: 390 pic.twitter.com/MGv7mCwRGK / Twitter”

Most coverage snaps played without allowing a touchdown last season1️⃣ Nik Needham: 4142️⃣ Tre’Davious White: 4033️⃣ Dane Jackson: 390 pic.twitter.com/MGv7mCwRGK

A Buffalo Bills secondary comprising Tre White, Kaiir Elam, Taron Johnson, Dane Jackson, Jordan Poyer, and Micah Hyde should give opposing QBs nightmares every Sunday. It could (and should) remain one of the elite secondaries in the league.

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