When the Buffalo Bills traded Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, there were a lot of sudden changes for a lot of folks who weren’t even involved in the trade. One of the players most affected is the Bills’ first-round pick this year, a player who went from playing alongside a quality veteran to one who is suddenly shouldered with the burden of serving as the Bills’ top cornerback before he’s even taken a regular-season snap.
Name: Tre’Davious White
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 192 lbs
College: Louisiana State
Draft: Round 1, Pick 27 by the Buffalo Bills (2017)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): White’s four-year rookie deal only carries a cap hit of around $1.8 million in 2017. The price rises to about $3.2 million in 2020, at which point the Bills will have a fifth-year option decision to make.
2016 Recap: In 12 games for the 8-4 Tigers, White recorded 51 tackles (16 solo) and half a sack. He also recorded career highs in tackles for loss (4), interceptions (2, tied with two other seasons), and fumble recoveries (1), while leading the SEC in pass defenses with 14. He scored the first points for the Tigers in the regular season on a pick-six during a loss to Wisconsin. As a punt returner, White averaged 7.8 yards per return on 24 tries with one touchdown (he scored a punt return touchdown in each of his three seasons on the job).
Positional Outlook: With the trade of Darby, White immediately becomes the top corner on the depth chart. It’s unlikely that Gaines is going to do enough in the next few weeks to overtake him for that role, and nobody else on the roster is anywhere close to earning the job.
2017 Offseason: White has lived up to his first-round billing during minicamps and training camp so far. White only played in nine snaps during the Bills’ loss to the Minnesota Vikings to open the preseason, and didn’t particularly stand out either way (which isn’t always a bad thing for a cornerback), recording only one assisted tackle.
2017 Season Outlook: White is entirely capable of playing up to the role that’s been set in front of him. He’s struggled a bit when matched up against taller receivers, but his experience in playing zone coverage and as a locker room leader suit him perfectly to take a major role in the Bills’ defense in 2017 and beyond.