As can be expected, a majority of the Bills’ top 20 talents will be on the defensive side of the ball. For the first time in this countdown, though, the defense appears on the list.
Mixing overall skill level, on-field performance and projection as the recipe for the analysis, the next member of the countdown had a step in the right direction in 2013. A highly hyped player coming out of college, number 19 on the list used to be among the most heavily criticized by fans. Playing a position that is under the microscope weekly, the 19th rated player has stuck around for quite a long time:
CB Leodis McKelvin
Age: 28 (9/4/85) Height: 5’10” Weight: 185
Why he’s here:
- If this were a list that ranks raw talent only and which players have the most, McKelvin and his effortless athleticism would rank somewhere in the top 10. However, when you mix in how long he’s been in the league along with his varying levels of play, it knocks him down a few pegs. Even still, at the age of 28, McKelvin possesses the skill level to be a good starting cornerback in this league. He started to scratch the surface in his rookie season, but was then derailed by injury. For the next few years his reputation was as a player that was always there to make a play, but usually ended up giving up the big play to the receiver. He had a solid season under defensive coordinator Mike Pettine which was the best of his six seasons in the league as a corner. The only problem, though, is that you can’t ignore the middle four seasons which consistently questioned his status as a former first-round selection.
- There is one question hovering over the upcoming season for McKelvin: Was 2013 a fluke due to a pressure-packed defensive scheme that hid their cornerbacks, or, has McKelvin finally gotten his bearings and is on the way to being a dependable starter? It will be fascinating to find out which side will end up with the most evidence when the season is complete. The teachings of defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson have definitely helped McKelvin, but will they be enough to change the habits learned during his formative years as a player? His performance will be something to keep a close eye on throughout the year, considering his contract and the signing of Corey Graham in the offseason.
Bills Top 20 Talents
20) TE Scott Chandler 19) CB Leodis McKelvin
18) ??? - Tuesday, July 8, 8 am
17) ??? - Tuesday, July 8, 6 pm