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Buffalo Bills James Cook & Kaiir Elam Training Camp Thoughts

We’ve reached the end of the first week of training camp for the Buffalo Bills. That includes the Bills’ top new rookies Kaiir Elam and James Cook. This is the first action they’ve had against their teammates and their first NFL action as well. Since it is the first week, this is no time for overreactions or blowing things out of proportion since this is a very small sample size, plus they’re going half-speed against some of the best players in the NFL.

But let’s take a look at some of the reports about James Cook and Kaiir Elam coming out of training camp.

James Cook

Devin Singletary enters 2022 as the lead back. He’s been fairly solid in the three seasons he’s been with the Bills. He’s struggled at times but towards the end of last season found his groove again.

Singletary does a little bit of everything well, consistently working forward. He isn’t the fastest player or shiftiest, but Singletary has worked to move the chains, and he’s a tough back to bring down.

Singletary will be pushed by rookie second-round pick James Cook who has impressed thus far in camp. Cook, similar to his brother Dalvin, is both a great rusher in space, has explosive breakaway capabilities, and terrific hands coming out of the backfield. Cook definitely looks like the fastest of the running backs which could give him an edge when it comes to receiving snaps, as speed and explosiveness is something this Buffalo team has lacked, as shown by their poor YAC (Yards After Catch) last year.

Buffalo is looking for any big spark out of their backfield that could make a play at any minute, and that’s what we’re looking at in James Cook. Although being fast and having great hands are not the only things that are going to get you on the field. You have to do some of the dirty work as well.

A big question for Cook is how he will hold up once the pads and particularly how he handles blitz pickup. Right now, he should see plenty of work on passing downs but if he struggles with blitz pickup it could limit his snaps to start the year.

Adjusting from college-level competition to NFL competition is a huge leap, and it will take some time to get used to. But that’s what this training camp is for, that’s why we do this. I’m putting my faith that James Cook will be up to the task. 

Kaiir Elam

Cornerback, Kaiir Elam was the Bills’ first-round pick this year, and there are some high expectations surrounding him. He will be forced to step into the starting role right away to begin the season as Tre’davious White is still rehabbing his torn ACL and will begin the year on the PUP list.

You can only imagine the pressure that Elam is facing right now stepping into this huge role on this Bills team that is poised to make a Super Bowl run this year.

There have been reports that Elam has struggled early on to start the year, which would make sense, going up against an elite wide receiver in Stefon Diggs in his first week of a real NFL practice. During practice, these two have also been seen chirping at each other and getting into it.

First rep of one-on-ones. Looked like Elam held Diggs. Stefon did not like it at all. They were holding each other close and definitely having an animated conversation. One of the other DBs made sure it didn’t go any further. — Sal Capaccio 🏈 (@SalSports) July 27, 2022

Apparently, this was not the first altercation these two got into either.

This is the second day in a row Diggs and Elam barked at each other a bit. Yesterday, Stefon stared him down and had a few words on his way back to the huddle after a contested play — Sal Capaccio 🏈 (@SalSports) July 27, 2022

I will say, you do love to see the competitive fire that’s rising in Elam and going against star wide receivers such as Diggs is only going to make him better come the regular season. I don’t think this is anything to be concerned about. Diggs is a leader on this team, he knows how to play the game, he is being tough on the 21-year-old rookie, trying to get him into shape and prevent him from making those same mistakes again. 

The more reps these two have against each other, it’ll only benefit Elam. To be the best, you have to go up against the best. I’m excited to see Elam’s development throughout camp in the next couple of weeks.  

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