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4 things to know: Bills draft pick S Cole Bishop

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Bills addressed two of their biggest needs in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft, selecting safety Cole Bishop of Utah at pick No. 60, after kicking off Friday night by choosing wide receiver Keon Coleman.

Here are four things to know about Bishop.

Versatile safety

The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Bishop played a variety of roles on the back end of Utah’s hybrid 4-2-5, was frequently used as a blitzer, and also contributed on special teams during his three college seasons.

“I was playing some free, some strong, I was in the box,” Bishop said. “Out, overhangs the nickel at times, so being able to do a lot, I think I can do a lot of those different things well, you know, covering tight ends.”

4 things to know: Bills draft pick WR Keon Coleman

Bishop met with Bills representatives at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, and later on Zoom calls. Positional versatility was mentioned as an attractive attribute, he said.

“You know in those Zooms and everything there is times you’ll be show some of your plays and you’ll have to draw some stuff up,” Bishop said. “It’s nice being able to have a lot of different things on film, so you’re able to show me certain times playing free or strong or in the box. It was a big focus point I would say.”

Starting 29 of 35 games in college, Bishop made 197 total tackles (21.5 for loss), with 7.5 sacks, 14 passes defended and three interceptions. He made second-team All-Pac 10 as a junior.

Answered prayers

When Bishop announced his decision to enter the NFL draft, his former teammate Dalton Kincaid posted “Bills” with prayer hand emojis in the comments.

“Being able to cover Dalton Kincaid every day my first two years definitely helps you get better at covering tight ends, as he’s one of the better route runners out there, so he was super helpful in my growth,” Bishop said.

Communicating often in the lead up to the draft, Bishop said that Kincaid gave him a scouting report on Buffalo’s football culture.

“He loves it out there,” Bishop said. “Fanbase is awesome. Obviously, you know, Bills Mafia is something unlike any other. Shoot, I mean, he has nothing but good things to say. So as soon as I saw that New York phone number I was super excited.”

“Dalton played at Utah, he knows the culture at Utah, and he said the Bills have a great culture there,” Bishop added. “So that’s something I was super interested in because I think that’s huge for teams.”

New look on back end

Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde have been vital members of Buffalo’s defense over the past seven seasons. But with Poyer released to join the Miami Dolphins, and Hyde unsigned and considering retirement, the Bills are undergoing a renovation at the position.

Bishop joins returning safeties Taylor Rapp and Damar Hamlin, along with free agent acquisition Mike Edwards, in hoping to meet the high standard that Poyer and Hyde established.

“You have an idea before the draft of what teams potentially like safeties, what teams you talked to the most and what teams like you or say they like you, but you can only take that so much,” Bishop said. “There are certain teams that share more information than others, so we had an idea they wanted a safety. My agent, he really liked the idea of me going to Buffalo and he thought that was a good possibility and I believed it as well.”

Lax background

After drafting a receiver with basketball skills at the top of the round, the Bills picked another multi-sport athlete. Bishop, a native of Peachtree City, Georgia, played lacrosse in high school.

But football remained his preferred sport. A fan of the Patriots growing up, Bishop said his favorite player was safety Rodney Harrison.

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Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.

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