The cornerback position is known to have a solid history in the lore of the Buffalo Bills. A number of names ring fondly in the ears of fans of the franchise. Through good times, bad times, and mediocre times, it hasn’t been unusual to see good play out of the cornerback position. Bills Beat continues the “Top Five” theme with the presentation of the top five cornerbacks in the history of the Buffalo Bills. According to yours truly, that is.
5. Terrence McGee
Terrence McGee is a name Bills fans will recall from the drought era who almost always stood out as a good player on a bad team. Despite never being part of a playoff team, McGee was able to put together a solid NFL career. Twice he was a second-team All-Pro (2004 and 2005), and in 2007, he led the NFL with 21 passes defensed. One thing that allowed him to stand out from most other cornerbacks in the league during his career was his superior speed at the position. His ability to keep up with every wide receiver who lined up against him served him extraordinarily well.
McGee’s speed also served him in another way: he was an excellent kick returner. In 2004, one of his second-team All-Pro seasons, he led the NFL both with three kick return touchdowns and a return long of 104 yards. The speed, agility, and athleticism that propelled him to excel as a returner matched well with his coverage and ball skills as a cornerback.
4. Tre’Davious White
Tre’Davious White is a remarkable talent for the Bills. At just 26, White has already managed to become one of the most decorated Bills to ever play at the cornerback position. His 2019 season is the standout year at this point. That season, he led the NFL with six interceptions and was named first-team All-Pro. His excellent situational awareness is one of the things that makes him a star in this league at the cornerback position. Seeing as he’s still very young, there’s good reason to suspect his career will have many more chapters to come.
White; however, is coming off a pretty bad injury that threatens to keep him on the sidelines, at least for the start of the 2022 season. His young age will certainly be a positive thing in this situation, as it will likely serve him well in being able to make an eventual full recovery. Just the same, ACL and meniscus tears aren’t to be taken lightly, and the team is right to be cautious with him as he makes his return to the field.
3. Booker Edgerson
Booker Edgerson was a member of the Bills teams of the early years of the AFL. A member of the AFL championship teams of the mid-’60s, Edgerson also led the AFL in interceptions returned for touchdowns in 1968 (two) and led the league in fumble recovery yards and fumbles returned for touchdowns (39 and 1, respectively).
Edgerson was a consistent threat to pick the ball off from opposing quarterbacks. He twice had seasons in which he intercepted over five passes. In the years since his retirement, he’s written the foreword to Cookie Gilchrist’s autobiography and was elected to the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame in 2010.
2. Nate Odomes
Nate Odomes was a member of the four-time AFC champion Bills teams of the early-‘90s. You could always count on Odomes for consistently good play from the cornerback position. Between the 1988 and 1993 seasons, he started in all but one game. It was also the 1993 season in which he led the NFL in interceptions with nine. This would turn out to be his best season from an individual standpoint, as he came in seventh in Defensive Player of the Year voting at the end of the season.
1994 is where everything went downhill for Odomes. He would miss the entire season on account of a knee injury. Still, in the athletic prime of his career has not even reached 30 years of age at the time, the injury nonetheless killed his career. After not playing at all in 1994 or 1995, he played seven games with Atlanta in 1996 but was nowhere near the player he had once been.
1. Butch Byrd
Butch Byrd takes the #1 spot on this list both because of his historical meaning to the Bills franchise and his consistency at the cornerback position. Byrd was one of the defensive leaders of the two-time AFL champion Buffalo Bills. His consistency and versatility helped ensure he was so. Between the 1964 and 1970 seasons, he never had a season with less than four interceptions. This helped decorate him as a five-time All-AFL player.
Byrd also excelled as a punt returner for the Bills. Between 1965 and 1967, he would put up triple digits in punt return yardage, averaging ten yards a return in 1965. In the years following the AFL’s merger with the NFL, a Board of Selectors put together the AFL All-Time Team. Not surprisingly, he was selected as a 2nd team cornerback for the team.
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