Can Buffalo Bills' Kaiir Elam overcome early struggles and avoid the bust label

Expectations were high for Kaiir Elam after the Bills made him the 23rd pick of the draft, and he has yet to live up to his draft status.
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills / Billie Weiss/GettyImages

In the same year that the Buffalo Bills selected Kaiir Elam in the first round, they also selected another cornerback, Christian Benford, in the sixth. Benford beat out Elam in their first season, earning the starting role on opening day. Since that day, Benford has established himself as a solid starting corner in the NFL, and Elam continued to struggle, whether it was injuries or consistency, he is now on the verge of being labeled an NFL draft bust.

Chris Trapasso with CBS Sports says that Elam is in danger of becoming just that, a bust. Buffalo hired a new defensive backs coach in Jahmile Addae, and the hope is he can get things turned around for Elam. So far, things have looked good for him in OTAs and minicamp, but he'll have to keep stacking plays in training camp, preseason, and into the regular season, to earn playing time and begin shedding that potential bust label.

"Troubled by injuries, general inconsistency in coverage and penalty-inducing grabbiness, it's been a real challenge for Elam to even stay on the field through his first two seasons in Buffalo, yet he hauled in two picks as a rookie -- one in the end zone on a pass thrown by Patrick Mahomes -- and has two career playoff interceptions. "

Chris Trapasso - CBS Sports

Buffalo Bills' corner Kaiir Elam has the talent to be a number one corner

There isn't much doubt in Elam's talent. You aren't a first-round pick in the NFL if the talent isn't there, but he's struggled to find himself through his first two seasons. He has time to turn it around and it starts now. He won't start this season, not with Rasul Douglas and Christian Benford locked in, but Elam can be an important part of the Bills secondary. The path I see for him is building that trust with the coaching staff and consistency this coming season, and in 2025 take over for Douglas as the other starting corner opposite Benford. 2024 will be a big year for Elam as he works to get his career on track.