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Bills Today: White one of the league's rising starts

Posted Oct 22, 2017

Here's the Bills news of note for Oct. 22nd.


1 - White one of the league’s rising stars
It appears the Buffalo Bills have hit the nail on the head with drafting cornerback Tre’Davious White. The Louisiana State University standout is looking like a first-round steal after five games. Not to mention the Bills racked up an additional first-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft by moving back to select White.

Doug Farrar of Bleacher Report highlighted every franchise’s rising star. He had no choice but to talk about White with his robust performances.

The Bills were able to get him with the 27th overall pick, and with his aggression, leaping ability and both short-area and long speed, White was more than ready to prove to all the teams that passed him by that in his case, size didn’t matter,” Farrar said. “White played both outside and in the slot at LSU, but the Bills have played him almost exclusively on the outside. There, he’s allowed just 16 catches on 33 targets for 294 yards, one touchdown, one interception and an opponent passer rating of 77.0.

White’s statistics so far this season speak for themselves. His athletic ability isn’t a question, but he’s also shown he has the mental aspect of the game down. His maturity at 22-years-old is impressive and it’s evident with how he carries himself. For a guy who’s on pace for Defensive Rookie of the Year, he vows to be better. It will be a luxury to see White develop as he’s already exceeding expectations according to Farrar.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about White so far is the trust the Bills have in him. Not only does White play tight coverage on the opposing team’s best receiver, and we’re talking about guys like A.J. Green and Julio Jones, but he can also move to mirror in coverage. In other words, he doesn’t stay on one side, and he can align with a receiver in motion, giving defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier more coverage options. The 3-2 Bills lead the league with just 74 points allowed, and this rookie is a big reason why. 

2 - Buffalo’s defense ranks top-five after Week Six
The Bills defense has made their presence felt throughout the NFL this season. Week in and week out they’ve been impressive. They held Cam Newton and company to a mere nine points in Week Two. Another memorable performance in Week Four was flustering the former MVP [Matt Ryan] and forcing two interceptions and strip-sacking him for a touchdown. With their efforts Buffalo’s defense is one of the best in the league.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Bills have the fourth-best defense in the league after Week Six. It truly has been a collective effort. The front-four has caused pressure and the remaining seven have capitalized on it. The team’s best-graded starter is Tre’Davious White with an 89.7. Defensive end, Jerry Hughes, has re-established himself as one of the league’s best edge rushers this season. He’s graded with an 89.1, the fifth-best among edge defenders. Here’s an excerpt from PFF’s assessment of the Bills defense.

First-round rookie Tre’Davious White has held up as the team’s top cornerback in year one. Jerry Hughes on the edge has also rediscovered his best form, and has 26 total pressures as well as 11 defensive stops.

Hughes has been a huge part of the turnaround in Buffalo’s defense. At just 29-years-old he’s showing he has much more left in the tank. Since 2013 he leads the Bills with 34 sacks. He’s also the team leader in sacks this season with three. Their early success has surprised league observers including PFF.

Buffalo’s defense has been a revelation in 2017. On paper, this entire franchise looked to be rebuilding heading into the season, but the defense has been a force. 

3 - Bucs OC on Bills: “I think they play really, really hard.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, had high praise for the Bills defense on Friday. He knows they’re an opportunistic bunch, and he believes that’s because of how hard they play.

“I think they’ve gotten around the quarterback, so that has put him under to duress in terms of throws. And I think they have caught a lot of the balls thrown their way,” Monken said. “I think they play really, really hard.”

The Bills new-look secondary has made a reputation for taking the ball away. They’re second in the NFL with 10 takeaways; the Jacksonville Jaguars are number one. Buffalo has eight interceptions and two forced fumbles on the season.

“You are going to create disruption and turnovers the harder you play, the more you get around the quarterback,” Monken said. “I think they’ve done a great job of catching it when they’ve had their opportunities.”

Buffalo’s offense has held its end of the bargain too. They only have two giveaways on the season. The Bills plus-eight turnover differential ranks second in the league.

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