Buffalo Bills roster analysis: Cornerbacks

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Nick Wojton
·4 min read
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The Buffalo Bills had an excellent 2020 season as a team, but position-by-position is a different story. Some were better than others and as the offseason is now in full swing, Bills Wire will give a quick analysis of the team’s current roster by reflecting on the season that was and looking ahead to 2021.

Next up, here is our breakdown on the team’s cornerback unit:

Contract statuses

Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Signed for 2021:
  • Tre'Davious White: $14.05 cap hit ($33.9 dead cap)

  • Taron Johnson: $1.1M ($161.5K dead cap)

  • Siran Neal: $991.5 cap hit ($71.5 dead cap)

  • Cam Lewis: $780K ($0 dead cap)

  • Dane Jackson: $780K cap hit ($0 dead cap)

Pending free agents & 2020 contract:

Player-by-player 2020 review

Levi Wallace #39 of the Bills. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

White (26): White had a down year in 2020... and still earned second-team All-Pro honors. A "down" year for this guy is still really, really good. We don't need to get too deep into that, if you're reading this, you know White is a great player. Stats: 57 tackles, 2 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 INTs, 11 passes defended, forced fumble Wallace (25): After joining the Bills as an undrafted rookie, Wallace has had has fair share of successes. He is prone to a bad game, but typically he has more good than bad but despite that, every offseason the Bills continue to bring in competition for him. Pro Football Focus actually graded Wallace their No. 34 cornerback last season, right next to White at 32. Of course, they can be taken with a grain of salt. Stats: 48 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 8 passes defended Norman (33): Surprisingly, per PFF, Norman was actually Buffalo's best cornerback in 2020, grading as their 17th best in the NFL. However, White plays a much larger role essentially never missing a snap. Norman rotated with Wallace by the time the year ended and like Wallace, Norman some good with the bad. Norman appeared to have lost a step, at times. Stats: 24 tackles, 2 for loss, INT, 4 passes defended, forced fumble Johnson (24): While Johnson had the magical interception that got the Bills to the AFC title game, it might be time to bring in some competition for him. After having a strong rookie year, Johnson has declined a bit and was as brutal as you can get to start 2020. He did improve eventually. Stats: 84 tackles, 5 for loss, sack, 7 passes defended, INT, forced fumble Neal (26): Neal mostly contributed on special teams in 2020. Previously he was a big-nickel defender, but the Bills opted to not use him much there this past year. Stats: 13 tackles, 1 pass defended Jackson (24): Jackson was predicted as high as a fifth-rounder at the 2020 NFL Draft but the Bills landed the rookie in Round 7. He appeared in a few games thanks to COVID practice squad rules allowing guys to go back and forth between the practice squad and roster and when Jackson played, he never looked out of place. Stats: 15 tackles, 1 for loss, 5 passes defended, INT Lewis (23): When Johnson struggled, Lewis was set to get a chance to prove he's a better option in the middle. Instead, he injured his wrist very quickly in that Week 7 game. Stats: 7 tackles

2021 outlook

Bills' Tre'Davious White. (AP Photo/John Munson)

White is a star. Behind him, the Bills don't need to make changes, but would be smart to add the holy grail word for this team during training camp: Competition. At the No. 2 cornerback spot Sean McDermott always seems to add competition, like signing a veteran like Norman to battle with Wallace. It remains to be seen if that happens again as Wallace is a restricted free agent. The Bills could let him walk like they probably will do with Norman, or they could bring Wallace back to fight for playing time in training camp again. However, could that competition actually be a younger guy for once via a draft pick? Might be worth a consideration at the upcoming draft. Also in terms of that potential battle, the stars could align for it to be an in-house one. The most interesting thing Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane said at his end of season press conference was that Jackson will get a look at the No. 2 spot next year. As referenced, Johnson needs someone to battle with, too. When it rained, it poured with his bad play. Plus, he is entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2021 so Buffalo will want to figure out what to do in the long term.

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