The Bills got off to a good start Friday in the sometimes lengthy process of signing draft choices as Kennard Cox signed his rookie contract with the club. The third of three seventh-round picks by Buffalo, the cornerback agreed to terms late Thursday before making the deal official right before the weekend.
"I appreciate this very much," Cox told Buffalobills.com. "Buffalo gave me a chance that a lot of people didn't give me. I just thank the organization for that and I'm just ready to move forward and get better at what I have to do and make sure this organization gets where it has to get."
Cox was also one of three cornerbacks selected by the Bills in this spring's draft along with top pick Leodis McKelvin and fourth-round choice Reggie Corner. At 6'1" and 195 pounds the Pitt product brings some welcome size to the position for Buffalo.
The Miami native was the penultimate pick in the 2008 NFL draft (#251) so it's not surprising that he was one of the first draft choices in the league to sign a contract. NFL clubs typically work their way from the back end of their draft class to the front when negotiating deals.
Cox has been getting third team reps at cornerback in the Bills OTA workouts the past two weeks and knows it will be an uphill battle to make the roster competing with six other cornerbacks.
"You compete every day. It's a part of the game," said Cox. "You just have to keep working toward what your goals are and that's why I'm just going to try to continue to prove myself to my teammates and my coaching staff. I'm basically competing with myself and seeing how far I can go and just learning the system and trying to pick it up faster than other people do."
Bills defensive backs coach George Catavolos has been stressing technique with Cox in the practice setting which is not uncommon when coaching NFL rookies.
"He feels like I'm a smart defensive back so I thank him for that," said Cox of Catavolos. "I think he recognizes what one of my biggest strengths is and he spends extra time with me and the other rookies working on things. So we're just getting better as we go."
Coming out of college, Cox was a two-year starter for the Panthers and was named Pitt's Most Improved Defensive Player as a junior when he played opposite New York Jets 2007 number one pick Darrelle Revis. In 24 college starts Cox finished with 98 total tackles, 12 pass breakups, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Buffalo still has nine draft picks left to sign including Cox's fellow seventh-rounders Demetrius Bell and Steve Johnson.