ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Addressing the Bills biggest area of need early in the draft made for less stressful days two and three, particularly day three.
“Getting Kaiir on Thursday just really relaxed me and let it come,” Beane said on Saturday.
The Bills moved up two spots to draft Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam in the first round with the 23rd overall pick and once that was out of the way, Beane had a little more freedom to address other areas having already taken care of the biggest need of this team so early.
“I did sleep much better, I didn’t sleep much but I feel a lot better after Thursday night and felt like at this point we don’t have to force anything, we got some good players on the board, there’s gonna be depth late and that’s why we stayed,” Beane said.
“I’m excited about some of these late guys maybe even more than some of the other years. I think a lot of these guys have a legit chance to make our roster. I know people sometimes are like well get rid of your picks, they’re not gonna make it. I mean, we needed some depth in some certain areas and I feel they all have a legit chance.”
The Bills did move up in the fifth round to draft Boise State wide receiver Khalil Shakir with the 148th overall pick. Beane traded up from pick 168 with the Bears and also gave Chicago a sixth rounder as well (203rd overall).
“I did trade up for Shakir today but I really like that young man. He’s tough, he’s smart, he’s versatile and I think with the ball in his hands he’s pretty good too. So he was sticking out and just felt like let’s go get him, this makes sense but otherwise we just kept seeing the board kind of fall and we felt like there was gonna be some options and there truly were,” Beane explained.
“I would have loved to actually have probably one or two more sevenths there were a couple other guys we thought could compete. But we chose the guys that we thought made the most sense.”
Other than trading up for Shakir, the Bills stayed where they were with the rest of their picks on day three and that patience was stemmed from getting Elam on Thursday.
“We really other than Shakir today just let it come to us. We had some people that were wanting to see if we wanted to move up a couple times to lose some of these late picks but we still had guys on our board all the way down to [Baylon] Spector who we just took,” Beane said.
After drafting Shakir, the Bills took San Diego State punter Matt Araiza aka the “Punt God” in the sixth round with the 180th overall pick. Later in the sixth round the Bills selected Villanova cornerback Christian Benford at 185th overall and then offensive tackle Luke Tenuta out of Virginia Tech at pick 209. Beane rounded out their draft picks by selecting Clemson linebacker Baylon Spector in the seventh round (231st overall).
Those guys from day three along with Elam, of course and Georgia running back James Cook taken on Friday in the second round and Baylor linebacker Terrel Bernard who they drafted in the third round now make up the Bills 2022 draft class. So up next it’s about signing undrafted free agents and continuing to fill out the roster as training camp gets underway in about three months.
“The job now between now and when we show up at St. John Fisher is to try and make this team as competitive as possible, every single position so we’re not done. We’re not gonna go to 90 today or tomorrow, there will be more veterans on the street and we’ll continue to kind of circulate through the waiver wire at this point,” Beane said.