Earlier this week, the Buffalo Bills cut ties with two defensive leaders, Mario Williams and Leodis McKelvin. Both players are former first-round draft picks who will bring plenty of experience to the team that signs them.
The San Diego Chargers should have both players on their list.
Williams, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 NFL draft, has been one of the league’s best pass-rushers during his career. He has 96 career sacks and has record double-digit sack numbers in five of his ten professional seasons. That could be attractive for a Chargers team that registered just 32 sacks in 2015.
Williams was still effective in Buffalo prior to last season when Rex Ryan came in. Perhaps Williams just doesn’t fit that scheme. In San Diego, Williams could play defensive end or outside linebacker, as he has experience doing both. If he were on the same field as Melvin Ingram and/or Jerry Attaochu, someone would be seeing a one-on-one matchup and suddenly, opposing teams would be feeling a consistent pass rush from San Diego.
Despite being 31 years old, there will always be a market for a player that can prove he is still a threat to sack the quarterback. Williams is that. Tom Telesco should be interested in making a deal happen.
For those that feel this is not possible, just remember that the Chargers were next in line to meet with Williams when he was a free agent in 2012, prior to him signing with Buffalo.
Nov 9, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Junior Hemingway (88) looks to make a tackle on Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin (21) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Kansas City beats Buffalo 17 to 13. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
McKelvin on the other hand, is a player who could help the Chargers in two areas. Having played defensive back for the Bills for eight seasons, McKelvin could come in and help mentor a young, inexperienced secondary. But where McKelvin would be even more valuable would be special teams.
Was there any team in the league that was worse in returning punts and kicks than the Chargers last year? The Chargers ranked No. 27 in the league with a 20.8 average in kick return yardage last season. Punt returning was even worse, as the team put up a total of 84 yards on the entire season. That’s ridiculous.
McKelvin can do both. He has a 10.3 career average on punt returns and a 26.0 yard average on kick returns. He does take a lot of chances as a return man, but he is also a threat to take it to the house. That is something the Chargers didn’t have last season and don’t have on the current roster. McKelvin has four career returns for touchdowns (3 punts, 1 kickoff).
Last season, the Chargers took a chance on former first-round pick Patrick Robinson. That worked out OK. For the right money, McKelvin would be a good addition to the roster.
Why? Secondary and the return game. Those are two glaring holes in San Diego.
Both of these players would present a slight risk, but the Chargers are a team that should want to win now, considering Philip Rivers is 34 years old. Williams and McKelvin could be a step toward doing that.
Both of their names should be tossed around in conversation, at the very least.