Bills' hidden treasure: Cornerbacks

June, 26, 2012
6/26/12
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Examining a position group that could exceed its preseason expectations:

Last year Buffalo was 19th against the pass. It wasn't all on the cornerbacks, but that position was certainly part of the problem. Safeties George Wilson and Jairus Byrd had solid seasons, but the cornerback play was mostly uneven. There were a lot of penalties, missed assignments and injuries at the position.

Enter hidden treasures Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Williams. Gilmore was taken in the first round this year, and Williams was a second-rounder in 2011. Both are expected to contribute right away and could be Buffalo's starting tandem in 2012. Gilmore wasn't a big name in this draft but is considered an NFL-ready player. The South Carolina product has been impressive in offseason workouts. Williams was in and out of the lineup last year due to injuries. But when healthy, Williams showed flashes of being a solid and athletic corner. Ten-year veteran Terrence McGee also will compete for a starting job.

Keep in mind that Buffalo's not-so-hidden treasure -- its pass rush -- should be a tremendous boost to its cover corners. The team spent more than $100 million to add pass-rushing defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to the defense. Both players should set the edge and make it uncomfortable for quarterbacks. Teams will have less time to throw against the Bills, and that means less time for the corners to worry about coverage. This could result in more turnovers and more aggressive play.

Gilmore, Williams and McGee are not a trio of corners many are thinking about in June. But the mixture of youth and experience could pay off for the Bills this season if all three players stay healthy and productive.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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