Less than 24 hours after being drafted by the Buffalo Bills, cornerback Kaiir Elam touched down in his new home with his family to tour the Bills facility, meet with his new coaches and talk to the media. The day didn't feel entirely new though because Elam visited Buffalo a couple weeks prior as one of his top-30 visits.
After that visit, the cornerback realized Buffalo might be the right fit for him.
"I just felt something special," Elam said after his first visit. "As soon as I got off the plane there was something special about Buffalo that I could envision myself playing here and making a lot of plays. That's something I'm going to strive to do, and I think everything happens for a reason and it's God's plan for me to be here. I'm trying to take my talent and run with it."
Now that he's officially a Buffalo Bill, the former University of Florida product is ready to get to work.
"I believe I'm prepared, but I also believe I have to keep working," Elam said. "You're only as good as your last performance. I don't believe in my past performance. I try to put my best foot forward and that's something I'm still learning, to put my best foot forward every time I step on that field."
Even though Elam has yet to play a snap in the NFL, he has already learned a lot about the next level from his father, Abram, who played in the NFL for six seasons and his uncle, Matt, who was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
"My dad and my uncle were really essential in my life," Elam explained. "They are a big part of the reason why I'm sitting in front of you today – being able to learn from their mistakes, and learning things they didn't know at my age, I think just helped me in this process so much, and throughout life and becoming a man. So I would just like to credit those guys and give them their flowers because without them, without my mom, without my family members, I probably wouldn't sitting in front of you right now."
Elam also couldn't do his visit without his family in attendance. Elam's father (Abram), mother (Shayla) and younger brother (Aydan) got to experience first-hand why Elam felt like Buffalo could be a good home.
"It's definitely an experience, just seeing him from a child to where he is now as a young man and being able to see him do the things that he's worked so hard to accomplish," said his mother. "It's just totally overwhelming right now. I really can't explain it, but he's so blessed. And to be in a community like this and an organization that really cares about people and their players is definitely a blessing."
Elam's mother and father have been with him every step of the way. But before Elam was all in on football, his parents wanted to make sure he didn't feel the pressure of following in his dad or uncle's footsteps.
"This is his moment," Elam's father said. "He took advantage of every opportunity and made the most of it. This isn't about me. This is him. As a father, this is what you always dream of, your son having more or better than what you set out to do. I'm just blessed. He took the tutelage, he took the plan, and he's executed. We always have a saying in the family, they call me the blueprint, but I see him and Matt (Elam) and they took the plans and they enhanced it."
Scroll through to see the photos of the Buffalo Bills first round draft pick, Kaiir Elam's first day in Buffalo.
Abram, Elam's father, was a safety for the Cowboys, Jets, Browns and Chiefs from 2006 to 2012. Elam's uncle, Matt Elam, was a safety for Baltimore for three seasons.
When helping Elam prepare for this moment, Abram wanted to make sure that his son was equipped with the skillset needed to flourish in the NFL.
"I just think about the things that were my limitations, those were the things that I focused on with him," Abram said. "Playing the ball, that's why he has good ball skills. I always dreamed of being a corner. I always told him, `I'm going to train you like a corner. If they ever move you to safety, you'll be a safety with corner skills.'
"So he took it and he's ran with it. He's like a sponge. He wants to know. I think it's going to be great being in the room with Tre'Davious (White), Micah (Hyde), (Jordan) Poyer. I told him, `If they say something and you follow it because those guys have done well in this league.'"
The Florida product has already been taking notes on White and is eager to learn from the All-Pro once OTAs begin.
"I've been trying to pick his brain and learn as much as I can about the league," Elam said of White. "But now I'm trying to learn as much as I can about being a player and about Buffalo. I'm going to try to build that bond in our relationship and just learn as much as I can from him."
Elam is also excited to go up against players like Stefon Diggs who will push him to become a better athlete. At the end of the day, the corner wants to do whatever it takes to help his new team achieve their biggest goals.
"That's my biggest thing, I just want to help this team win," Elam shared. "The ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl. That's my mindset right now. The only way I really feel I can help this team is by doing the little things right consistently. That's something I'm going to strive to do."
The first rounder said he slept like a "baby" after being drafted by Buffalo and feels a sense of peace now that he and his family have found their new home.
"I felt relieved when I got off the plane," Elam explained. "I felt at home. And I really believe that it's something special is gonna happen here."
With the 2022 NFL Draft underway, scroll through to keep track of Buffalo's newest players. Presented by Caesars Sportsbook