Round 2: James Cook
In the second round, the Bills took another high-upside skill-position player who did not immediately feature in their plans. James Cook was drafted because of his speed, agility and pass-catching skills after the Bills free agent deal with J.D. McKissic fell through and he returned to the Washington Commanders.
This situation seems to have worked out in the Bills favor, as McKissic is now a free agent, and looks likely to retire due to injury, and like Elam, Cook seems primed to have a featured role as a starter for the Bills in 2023 after being integrated slowly and progressively last season.
In 2022, Cook totaled 89 rushes for 507 yards along with 21 catches for 180 yards. He scored 3 total touchdowns to go with his elite 5.7 yards per carry average. While he played most of the season behind Devin Singletary, who departed for Houston as a free agent this offseason, and lost some reps down the stretch to Nyheim Hines who the Bills brought back on a restructured deal, there are plenty of RB touches to go around this season in Buffalo.
Look for Cook’s role to continue growing in 2023. While he may never be a bell-cow back in the NFL, he has elite traits that should form a more dynamic backfield alongside newly signed Damien Harris who adds a dimension of size and power that the Bills have been sorely lacking in recent seasons.