Bills CB Leodis McKelvin has had a roller coaster 14 months. He opened the 2011 season starting the first five games of the season, before losing his job. He was predominantly used on special teams the rest of the campaign.
During training camp, some observers wondered if McKelvin, who had a very good rookie season and started 14 games in 2010, would be on the roster bubble. He had apparently carved out a niche, though, as a slot corner, and entered the season at that spot.
It didn’t last long. McKelvin played only five snaps in Week Two and then second-year CB Justin Rogers took over the No. 3 corner spot. It was back to punt returns and special-teams coverage for McKelvin, but he made the most of it and ranks as one of the league’s top returners. McKelvin, who was PFW’s Midseason All-Pro punt returner, has two punt-return touchdowns and is averaging 18.7 yards on 23 returns.
The way we hear it, a confident McKelvin has likely enhanced his position with the club over the past month — not just for his ability to change games as a returner, but for his spot duty back at corner. Injuries to Aaron Williams and Terrence McGee depleted the CB spot, and Rogers has struggled. McKelvin played 65 defensive snaps in Week 14, has started four of the last five games and is giving Buffalo more reason to work to keep him, as the former first-round pick is in the last year of his rookie deal. FS Jairus Byrd and OLG Andy Levitre are higher free-agent priorities, but the dual threat that McKelvin has been over the past few weeks helps his case to stay in Buffalo.