Buffalo Bills position room preview: Cornerback
By Avery Duncan
The diamond in the rough: Levi Wallace
The Bills entered 2018 without a concrete plan for the future at the No. 2 cornerback position. Their 2017 starter, E.J. Gaines left to Cleveland, while his replacement, Vontae Davis, retired at half-time during week two. Then came Levi Wallace; an undrafted free agent out of Alabama who appears to be a diamond in the rough finding for the team.
Wallace earned the starting job week 10 and proceeded to run away with it. In seven starts, the 6-foot corner didn’t get an interception, but he did rack up three pass deflections and 37 total tackles. Despite starting less than half of the season, Pro Football Focus gave Wallace an 83.5 grade — good for fourth in the NFL and first amongst rookie corners.
According to PFF, Wallace allowed just 94 total yards on 19 targets. His allowed 0.45 yards per route run is the top amongst cornerbacks in the NFL that played 135+ snaps as well. Wallace’s advanced statistics do him favors, but the naked eye does the same — he’s a big cornerback that matches his physicality with fluidness, run support, and a particular proficiency in the red-zone.
As it currently stands, Wallace should be the starter opposite Tre’Davious White. Though his surprising rookie year was limited to the number of snaps, the former Alabama product proved that he could be a high-level starter in the NFL. However, that doesn’t mean the Bills aren’t cautiously optimistic — they brought in two veterans in free agency to challenge him.