With two weeks of preseason in the books, the Buffalo Bills look very weak in the defensive back department. The Bills’ secondary was much discussed heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. Last season Buffalo allowed 25 touchdowns through the air, seven plays of 40 or more yards, and failed to find a consistent No. 2 cornerback to play opposite Stephon Gilmore.
Though we haven’t seen any of Leodis McKelvin in this preseason, it looks as if he will get the first crack at the No. 2 position. McKelvin was re-signed and paid starting cornerback money at the end of the 2012. Despite his dynamic abilities as a punt/kick returner and unquestioned athleticism, McKelvin has never proved to be a worthy starting cornerback. He has trouble tracking the ball in the air while frequently neglecting to finish plays – a trait that he must fix in order to be a starter in the NFL.
Even more troubling for the Bills is that there doesn’t seem anyone else who can be considered to fight for the spot. Justin Rogers was a diamond in the rough in his 2011 rookie year, but he seemed to get burned a lot last year as a slot corner for the Bills. Ron Brooks was considered a steal in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, but he has struggled at times during camp. While both corners possess good speed and have flashed coverage skills, there has yet to be enough consistency that they can do anything but cover the slot.
Now the question comes, should the Bills sign another cornerback as an emergency depth spot in case the McKelvin signing doesn’t work out? Well there are few free agents on the market that are worthy enough to be a valuable starter, but it can help other players by bringing in some competition. There are players like Shawntae Spencer who was a quality corner in San Francisco, but his career declined when he signed in Oakland. There is also a player like Sheldon Brown that is still available. Yes he is 34, but he can bring in some veteran leadership to the secondary that could help all of the corners.
Football is a team sport, especially when it comes to the defensive side of the ball. No matter how good the pass rush has been this training camp you need to have a good all around defense in order to compete in a division with Tom Brady.