clearn.png
Wednesday July 6th, 2022 2:50AM

Bills draft Georgia RB Cook, Baylor LB Bernard; Elam arrives

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Having addressed Buffalo’s key need at cornerback in the first round of the draft, Brandon Beane was comfortable playing a prolonged waiting game Friday night.

The Bills general manager not only acquired two sixth-round picks by trading back twice in the draft order, Beane filled positional depth needs on both sides of the ball for the two-time defending AFC East champions.

The Josh Allen-led offense gained a potential dynamic dual-threat with Georgia running back James Cook, chosen with the 63rd pick. Beane then used the 89th pick to add undersized but versatile linebacker Terrel Bernard of Baylor to a revamped defense, which already features the free agent addition of Von Miller, and a day after trading up to choose Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam in the first round.

“We definitely felt better after we got the corner last night,” said Beane of Elam joining a secondary which lost starter Levi Wallace in free agency and with Tre'Davious White's status uncertain while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery.

“If you’re filling a need, one of your top needs that’s when you sleep good at night,” he added. “And so today, we just said, `Let’s let the board come to us and let’s see what’s there.'”

The patience paid off in several ways, including the Bills adding the 180th and 209th selections to make up for the fourth-round pick Beane used to trade up two spots to secure Elam. Initially scheduled to make the 57th pick, Buffalo traded back twice in the order before finally picking Cook.

He was the third running back chosen in this year’s draft and is the brother of Minnesota Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook.

He joins an unsettled running back room that includes Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and offseason free-agent addition Duke Johnson. And Cook’s skillset as both a runner and pass-catcher provides a dimension the Bills thought they had already filled in free agency in March before J.D. McKissic elected to go back on his agreement with Buffalo to return to Washington.

“Similar to McKissic, he’s a guy that’s got really good hands and very instinctive in the pass game,” Beane said of Cook’s abilities. “I watched a lot of Georgia football last year just because they were so good, saw him play live twice. You can feel his speed with a ball in his hand.”

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 199 pounds, Cook has the slashing, one-cut style of his brother, but lacks his sibling’s stocky build.

What the two have in common is an ability to find the end zone with James Cook coming off a season in which he had 728 yards rushing and seven touchdowns and added 284 yards receiving and four TDs in 15 games while helping the Bulldogs win the national championship.

In four seasons, he had 1,503 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, and 730 yards and six TDs.

Cook said he made a good connection with Bills running backs coach Kelly Skipper during the pre-draft process, and is already friends with Singletary. Both are from the Miami area and spent this offseason working out together.

“Me and Motor are a one-two punch,” Cook said, referring to Singletary’s nickname.

The Bills offense is undergoing a transition with Ken Dorsey taking over as coordinator after Brian Daboll was hired to coach the New York Giants in January.

Bernard’s addition begins to shore up the team’s depth at linebacker behind starters Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano.

Somewhat undersized by NFL standards at 6-foot-1 and 224 pounds, Bernard earned All Big 12 first-team honors in leading Baylor with 106 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks last season. He was also named the Sugar Bowl MVP after being credited with 20 tackles and two sacks in a win over Ole Miss.

Elam traveled from his home in South Florida to Buffalo to meet with the Bills. He was joined by his parents, former NFL defensive back Abram Elam and Shayla Davis, and younger brother Aydan.

Elam was so eager to get up to speed on Thursday, he feigned disappointment the Bills didn’t have a copy of their playbook for him on the plane.

“They told me I’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn,” he said, noting he was finally handed one at the team headquarters. “Now I can strive to learn as much as I can So I can play fast, make plays and get the ball turned over for the offense to score.”

Elam has been trained by his father, who played safety, uncle Matt Elam, who spent four seasons playing safety with Baltimore last decade, and former NFL cornerback Brandon Flowers.

“I always told him, `I’m going to train you like a corner. If they ever move you to safety, you’ll be a safety with corner skills,‘” Abram Elam said.

“So he took it and he’s ran with it. He’s like a sponge,” he added. “I think it’s going to be great being in the (Bills defensive back) room with Tre’Davious (White), Micah (Hyde) and (Jordan) Poyer. It told him, `If they say something, you follow it because those guys have done well in this league.’”

The Bills are scheduled to close the draft with six picks on Saturday, starting with No. 159.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Sports, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bills draft Georgia RB Cook, Baylor LB Bernard; Elam arrives
The Buffalo Bills took Georgia running back James Cook with the 63rd overall pick in the NFL draft
11:10PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Cowboys test character again with Ole Miss rusher Williams
The Dallas Cowboys have selected Mississippi edge rusher Sam Williams with the 56th overall pick in the second round of the NFL draft
10:52PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Finally, a 2nd QB drafted: Cincinnati's Ridder to Atlanta
It took 42 selections Friday before a second quarterback was taken in the NFL draft
10:51PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Mets pitching combined no-hitter thru 8 innings vs Phillies
New York Mets starter Tylor Megill and a trio of relievers have combined to pitch eight no-hit innings against the Philadelphia Phillies
10:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
2022 NFL Draft l Ridder ends QB drought in 3rd round
Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder was the second quarterback picked in the draft, taken in the third round at No. 74 overall by the Atlanta Falcons
10:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
NHLPA begins search for executive director Fehr's successor
The NHL Players' Association has begun a search for executive director Don Fehr's successor
9:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Trades, RBs, DBs, but no QBs early in Round 2
Both players of the year from the Big 12, a standout receiver from an FCS powerhouse, and more trades marked yet another dizzy and busy round at the NFL draft
8:54PM ( 2 hours ago )
2022 NFL Draft l Pats go for speed at receiver with Thornton
The Patriots selected maybe the fastest receiver in this year’s draft when they picked Baylor’s Tyquan Thornton with the 50th overall pick
8:51PM ( 2 hours ago )
2022 NFL Draft l Ojabo goes to Ravens with 45th pick
Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo is going from one Harbaugh to another
8:30PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Column: May deaths of Katie, Sarah and Lauren not be in vain
There’s been a lot of talk about the mental health struggles that many young athletes face, the pressures and expectations that can seem overwhelming
9:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
'It's a reunion': Top 2 Packers picks from Georgia defense
The Green Bay Packers held off on addressing their issues at receiver and instead continued loading up on defensive players from Georgia
1:46AM ( 21 hours ago )
Vikings move way down in 1st round, take Georgia safety Cine
The Minnesota Vikings have selected Georgia safety Lewis Cine in the first round of the NFL draft
1:21AM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Defense 1st, then offense, with receivers a focal point
In an NFL draft focused early on stoppers, it was the goers — wide receivers — who stole the spotlight Thursday night
12:15AM ( 23 hours ago )
Breaking down players selected in 1st round of NFL draft
Five defensive players were taken in the first five picks of the NFL draft, including three pass rushers, starting with Georgia's Travon Walker to Jacksonville first overall
12:00AM ( 23 hours ago )
2022 NFL Draft l First round features 5 Georgia defenders
A first round of the NFL draft featured a record five defenders taken from one school as the night began and ended with the selections of former University of Georgia defenders
11:48PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Cowboys test character again with Ole Miss rusher Williams
The Dallas Cowboys have selected Mississippi edge rusher Sam Williams with the 56th overall pick in the second round of the NFL draft
10:52PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Finally, a 2nd QB drafted: Cincinnati's Ridder to Atlanta
It took 42 selections Friday before a second quarterback was taken in the NFL draft
10:51PM ( 26 minutes ago )
2022 NFL Draft l Titans pick Liberty QB Malik Willis at 86
Malik Willis of Liberty became the third quarterback taken in the NFL draft when the Tennessee Titans took him in the third round with the 86th overall pick
10:49PM ( 29 minutes ago )
No-no-no-no-no! 5 Mets pitchers combine to no-hit Phillies
New York Mets starter Tylor Megill and four relievers combined on the first no-hitter of the Major League Baseball season, teaming up to throw a whopping 159 pitches and beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0
10:48PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Dodgers' Bauer suspended 2 seasons over alleged sex assault
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer was given an unprecedented two-season suspension without pay by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy, a charge he denied
10:44PM ( 33 minutes ago )