3 Buffalo Bills to watch on defense against New York Jets in Week 1

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Christian Benford

A fan favorite since he stormed onto the field in training camp last year, Christian Benford won the Bills cornerback two position. On Monday night, Benford will be starting opposite of Tre’Davious White. Benford beat out the experienced veteran Dane Jackson and last year’s first-round pick, Kaiir Elam.

Benford himself is a unique story. He was the Bills sixth-round selection from the 2022 NFL Draft and started showing out from day one. Many like to say Elam’s failure to get on the field is trending towards him being a bust, but it really is a testament to how good Benford has been. He was so good last preseason that he forced his way onto the field and he continued that this year.

Benford excels in zone coverage, which is the base of what the Bills run. He has great natural instincts and is always around the ball. In the final preseason game, he was textbook and made numerous plays. Benford will need to continue that, as the Jets have a nice set of receivers. Typically, the Bills don’t have Tre White shadow the opposing team's number-one receiver. So, that means Benford will get a healthy dose of matchups with the ascending Garett Wilson.

Outside of Wilson, veteran Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard are proven receivers. With Rodger’s at quarterback, they will only be better. Benford played well as a rookie last year, appearing in nine games, and multiple of them were played through injury, with a club on his hand. In 363 defensive snaps played last year, Benford was targeted 28 times, allowing 17 completions and just one touchdown. He is a key player this week, as the Bills pass coverage needs to be on point if they want to win.