One of the final edicts laid out by former general manager Buddy Nix before his departure was his choice for the No. 2 starting cornerback gig — 27-year-old Leodis McKelvin.
While McKelvin has shined as a special teams player, his performance as a defensive starter has been less than impressive. Though much of that disappointment has been targeted at how McKelvin was utilized in last season's defensive scheme, the fact remains that he's yet to prove his consistency and worth as an every-down defensive back.
The six-year vet's chance to do just that has arrived, as his lingering groin injury seems to now be resolved. McKelvin took over first-string duties at the No. 2 spot earlier this week following a Justin Rogers hamstring injury; he'd been mainly working out with the second-team unit.
Coach Doug Marrone, who's publicly voiced his enthusiasm for McKelvin in the starting role in the past, spoke highly of the cornerback once again on Wednesday.
"He made a heck of a play today with the comeback," Marrone told reporters. "He really came out there and we really think he has some fine skill, and it’s the same thing. When you’re out for that long, it takes some time. He’s really coming along nicely. We’re really excited about that."
McKelvin's continued health is certainly a priority for the Bills, who leaned on the playmaker in both the punt and kick return game last year. While both Marrone and Nix would love to see McKelvin succeed on the defensive side of the ball, his starting spot is anything but a lock. The play of Rogers and fellow defensive back Crezdon Butler thus far certainly gives the team a bit of leeway if McKelvin doesn't pan out.
"It’s just all about going out there and working on your craft and getting better and better every day you go out there," McKelvin told Chris Brown of buffalobills.com Wednesday. "As long as I keep doing that and progress every day and take my chances going for the ball to get interceptions I’ll be very competitive."