Breaking down E.J. Gaines and his potential replacements

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(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Mike Hughes

Senior, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds

2017 Stats – 49 tackles, 4 INTs, 11 PBUs, 1 Forced Fumble

The best version of the Bills defense will feature a dominant front-4, and a ball-hawking secondary. Mike Hughes is a ball-hawking corner.

Hughes fits the experienced mold for McBeane, as he is a senior and coming from the surprise undefeated UCF team.. While he has the four interceptions, he also was a willing tackler in college, something the Bills will need if they’re replacing Gaines.

Production, experience, and tackling was one of the prerequisites for the Bills last draft. This year may be different, but the need for a corner to play right away may be higher.

The Bills had Ronald Darby on the roster this time last year. With White established as a starting corner, the Bills will be seeking his tag team partner. Hughes checks all the boxes from college, and could start during Week 1.

Kameron Kelly

Senior, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds

2017 Stats – 68 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 sacks, 8 PBUs

Kameron Kelly is an intriguing prospect based on stats alone. He’s 6-foot-2 so his size would make him a valuable corner outside, or to matchup against tight ends.

The Bills defense doesn’t require a specific height for cornerbacks like others, but it does do better with willing tacklers. Kelly had 68 tackles last season for the Aztecs.

The 68 tackles nearly doubled his 2016 output, but that season was impressive too, because he flashed with five interceptions.

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Kelly fits the Bills past precedent in selecting four-year players from college. Adding guys who are willing to do the dirty work is the mindset that McDermott wants. The Bills solidified their defensive backfield leadership in 2017, now they can add some intensity that adds edge to this defense.