Nickel may be perfect fit for McKelvin
As the Buffalo Bills continued along with Organized Team Activities on Monday, Leodis McKelvin showed up in a big way.
Without Terrence McGee participating in the voluntary sessions due to his knee injury last season, McKelvin is getting plenty of repetitions with the first team in a bit of a different role. While McKelvin is still getting a chance to show his stuff as an outside cornerback, it's him playing on the inside that might just be the perfect role for McKelvin.
There's no doubting his athletic prowess. McKelvin has the speed and change of direction to stick with just about anybody. His problem, which has been well documented, is not being able to make a play on the ball when it's in the air.
Could a switch to the inside help the fifth-year pro?
I think it just might. Take a look at the best things McKelvin brings to the table:
Speed... He would have no problem sticking with the prototypical small and fast slot receiver if they try to extend down the field. Also, by that style of player being the one McKelvin will see most often, he won't often have to worry about that player climbing the ladder and going over the top of him.
Change of direction... When most think about the best slot receiver in the game, they'll think of New England's Wes Welker. One of the things you can highlight about his game is the ability to run routes that deceive most cornerbacks underneath. Having the type of hips that McKelvin shows, he'll be able to stick with the slot player that stops on a dime and changes direction when in man-to-man.
Tackling ability... Against the run, McKelvin has been a sure tackler. It's one point to his game you don't have to worry about. In zone looks, he'll be able to bring down the ball carrier while playing on the inside.
Combine all three of these and you get another facet of a nickel cornerback that McKelvin could prove very useful with. Blitzing. His natural athleticism and tackling ability will put him in a good position, if he can rush free, to make a big play in the backfield.
While I'm sure he'll still get a look as an outside cornerback and be in the running for a starting job, I think he could thrive in a nickel role if the Bills are so inclined.
I spoke with McKelvin during the first week of May. For a look at how he's approaching the season, click here.