There was a concerted effort on the part of the Bills entering the 2017 draft to place a premium on finding prospects who in the words of head coach Sean McDermott "have our DNA" and "play the game that we want to play." After a 17-pick trade back from 10 to 27 the Bills were still able to accomplish that in the form of LSU CB Tre'Davious White.
"I really felt good about the pick of Tre'Davious White," said McDermott. "A solid person, solid football player. A guy we had on our board. We felt like if we could get him he'd be a good pick for us."
White started not long after his freshman season began at LSU and went on to make 47 straight starts. Over his last two seasons he wore the Tigers coveted jersey number 18, a number synonymous with success both on and off the field. According to the LSU athletic site jersey 18 also represents a selfless attitude that has become the epitome of being an LSU football player.
"It just shows the type of person I am," said the First-team All-American. "I'm a genuine guy who cares about my teammates. I put my individual goals on the back burner for the team. I've always been that way. My teammates know I'm a guy they can come to me with any problems they have on or off the field. That just made me feel great that younger guys could come to me with anything from personal problems to learning the playbook."
White overcame the challenge of having three different defensive coordinators each of the last three years. He could've entered last year's draft as a junior eligible, but chose to return to school to earn his degree in Sports Administration. After being a valedictorian in high school, he wanted to finish his college education.
"It was the number one thing," he said. "I didn't want to just be known as an athlete and a guy that plays ball. I wanted to be a guy that did both and took both seriously. My academics were always a serious thing for me. Just because I got to college and football was more demanding I didn't want it to take away from my schooling. That's why I came back for my senior year. I wanted to go back and earn my degree and show that I could play football at a high level and still graduate."
White doesn't have blazing speed, but his 4.47 40-time, 6.9 second three-cone time and 4.32 second short shuttle demonstrate his foot speed and agility.
"It's how quick my feet are and my ability to play inside corner and outside corner," said White of the favorite parts of his game. The two-year captain credits his college position coach for his versatility.
"I was fortunate enough to have a great coach, Corey Raymond at LSU. He let us know right off the bat you weren't going to be a guy who plays just one position," White said. "You've got to know all three positions in the defensive backfield. I thank him for that."
White's body of work made it easy for the Bills to check all the boxes.
"Again that's part of that evaluation," McDermott said. "We were looking for consistency, availability, versatility, staying healthy, all of that. He's shown that over his history and say, 'What do you knock him on?' He played, he started in the best conference in college football. He's played three positions, he's a solid person. He's a solid football player."
All of White's experience and success has him certain that he can be an instant contributor on defense.
"I'm 100 percent confident (I can). I was fortunate to have great coaches to coach me up and I feel like with my work ethic once I get to Buffalo and get coached up well and understand the scheme that I'll put myself in a great position to make a lot of big time plays for the team."