No. 11 Nominee (Part 2)

In Part II of the five-part No. 11 series, Leodis McKelvin is considered as the possible choice for the Bills in the first round.

Everyone knows that the Bills struggled against the pass last year. With a patchwork secondary comprised of converted receivers and second- or third-string players, they couldn't compete with some teams and their passing attacks. Enter Leodis McKelvin, a very talented cornerback prospect for the Bills in the upcoming draft.

McKelvin, from Troy, and hasn't received nearly the amount of press coverage he should be. He is the spark their secondary needs to keep up with ever-quicker receivers from opposing teams. He has blazing speed, NFL-ready agility, and a hard-working attitude.

McKelvin turned heads at the NFL Combine by running a 4.38 in the 40, and 4.10 in the 20-yard shuttle. Rare speed. Buffalo's DBs got burned on many occasions last season, and the coaches would love to increase the overall speed of their secondary.

His speed isn't the only thing that made scouts drool. His vertical leap ability and excellent body control show he can fight for the high passes. NFL scouting reports from the combine highlight his willingness to fight for the ball in crowds, and the toughness he displays when up in the air.

In 48 games at Troy, McKelvin tallied 173 tackles, 4.5 of which were for losses, deflected 22 passes and blocked a kick. He recorded five forced fumbles, two of which he recovered. Also, he picked off four passes, and returned one for a touchdown.

McKelvin has received many defensive accolades, starting when he was in high school. McKelvin earned first-team Class AAAA All-State honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Sportswriters Association. Also, he was named to the Georgia Times Union Super 11 team, and he participated in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Game after his final campaign. While in college, McKelvin earned All-American and All-Sun Belt Conference first-team honors as a senior.

In addition to being an exceptional cornerback, McKelvin is a standout return specialist on punt and kickoff returns. He was a very dangerous return threat in college, as he tied an NCAA record by returning seven punts and one kickoff for touchdowns. Also, he piled up 2,346 kickoff return yards, averaging 23.69 yards per return and 1,471 punt return yards, averaging a 13.3 yards per return. These kinds of numbers were good for several school, and Sun-Belt Conference records during his impressive collegiate career.

His dazzling special teams ability would fit in with the already elite group of returners on Buffalo's squad. Could you imagine teams having to face Terrence McGee, Roscoe Parrish and Leodis McKelvin in the return game? Scary.

McKelvin is an obvious first-round selection, and the Bills need to recognize this. If the Bills choose not to address other positions in the first-round and stick with a CB pick there are two really standout backs, in McKelvin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie that should go pretty early. There are also a few other teams in need of a good CB, New England, New Orleans, Kansas City to name a few, and they all pick before the Bills at pick number 11.

Bills front office is looking for some definite talent to shake things up in their secondary and McKelvin fits the bill. Not only would their speed increase, but they will get some much-needed depth as well.

Terrence McGee has been solid after stepping into the number one CB role and he needs an equally explosive player on the other side. McKelvin could most likely start, and the Bills would still have several backups, like Jabari Greer and Ashton Youboty, that had a lot of playing time last season.

Leodis McKelvin should definitely be at the top of the Bills draft boards this season. He would add talent and depth to the secondary, while joining the ranks of one of the league's elite special teams squads. If the Bills are looking for a player with raw, explosive talent and a lot of upswing, Leodis McKelvin is their man at No. 11.

Marc Heintzman is a BFR Contributor. Contact him at mdheintz@syr.edu.


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