Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills will give Leodis McKelvin chance to start

The Buffalo Bills are trusting that Leodis McKelvin is right when he says he can contribute to the team on defense, because the Bills doled out a big $20 million contract over four seasons to keep McKelvin in Buffalo. The 27-year-old was a first-round draft pick out of Troy, and he made significant progress towards shedding the “bust” label last year.

The Bills were frustrated with McKelvin’s play in the slot in 2011, and they decided to split time with McKelvin and Justin Rogers. Despite slanting more playing time towards McKelvin, it was clear that McKelvin significantly outplayed Rogers. He wasn’t great or anything, but McKelvin was decent and had a nice year in the nickel. However, his major impact for the Bills was on special teams, and he was the best returner in the league last year- even better than Trindon Holliday and Jacoby Jones.

Giving $20 million to a return specialist is almost always a quizzical decision, but the Bills are showing that McKelvin isn’t just going to be a return specialist. The new regime headed by Doug Marrone likely came away impressed with McKelvin’s progress in 2012, and they are confident in his ability to make an impact as a starting cornerback to make good on the new deal.

Per the Buffalo Bills official site, new head coach Doug Marrone has confirmed that the Bills will give Leodis McKelvin a chance to start over left cornerback Aaron Williams, who should be moved to safety. Williams is a young player, but he has been horrendous in coverage thus far in his career, and I actually think McKelvin will beat out Williams for the starting gig opposite of impressive rookie Stephon Gilmore.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Aaron Williams Buffalo Bills Doug Marrone Leodis McKelvin

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