Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White burst onto the scene in 2017 and made a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after tallying 69 tackles, three tackles for loss, four interceptions, 18 pass breakups, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. White, who Buffalo acquired with the No. 27 overall pick after trading back in the first round, allowed just 41 receptions for 608 yards and three touchdowns on 84 targets during his rookie season and graded out as one of the top defenders, per Pro Football Focus metrics.
Last season, White didn’t have the statistical output he did as a rookie, but he still managed to record 54 tackles, one tackle for loss, two interceptions, and eight pass breakups. He surrendered just 33 receptions for 386 yards and two touchdowns while being targeted only 66 times on the year.
The Bills boasted the NFL’s No. 1-ranked pass defense, largely thanks to Tre’Davious White and his ability to take away almost half of the field by shadowing and locking down opposing offenses’ top receiving threats.
According to Sports Info Solutions, White was tasked with shadowing No. 1 wide receivers in seven of the 16 games he started in 2018, and was largely successful.
Tre’Davious White has been excellent defending the deep ball, as well. As a rookie, he was targeted deep 25 times, allowing just six catches for 220 yards and two touchdowns, intercepting two passes, and breaking up four. He improved upon those numbers dramatically in 2018, allowing three receptions on 13 targets for 108 yards and zero touchdowns, picking off one pass, and breaking up another two.
According to Pro Football Focus, White allowed the third-lowest passer rating in the NFL when targeted and allowed just one reception every 17.3 snaps in coverage — third-best among cornerbacks.
NFL Wire’s Doug Farrar ranked White as the third-best outside cornerback in the NFL, writing the following:
“Most young cornerbacks find themselves in a vicious learning curve when transitioning from college to the NFL—receivers are better and smarter, route concepts are far more complex, and coverages are more variable. White has proven the exception to the rule.
Whether he’s playing bail or press coverage down the boundary or following a receiver through a crossing route or deciphering his assignment on a route combination, White has an impressive combination of savvy and aggressiveness that belies his relatively short time at the NFL level.”
The praise for White didn’t stop there, though. NFL Network’s Kay Adams boldly claimed that White was the NFL’s top cornerback, citing his shutdown performance against Houston Texans star wide receiver Deandre Hopkins as her reasoning.
White appeared on the show and was asked if he believes he’s the league’s top cornerback, but the LSU product was humble, explaining that he still has to build upon his first two seasons.
“I feel like I’ve got to still go get that,” said White. “I put together two great seasons to start it off, but I’ve still got a ways to go. It comes with team success, so if we win a lot, those accolades will come. I feel like it’s a year-to-year thing with the best cornerback in the league, so I’ve got to go out this season and put my best foot forward and try to have my best year yet.”
In 2019, Tre’Davious White will look to solidify himself as one of the true elite cornerbacks in the NFL. After a season that many widely viewed as a “down” year following his breakout rookie performance, White will face some quality competition in terms of opposing wideouts, including A.J. Green, Corey Davis, Odell Beckham Jr., Amari Cooper, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
On Good Morning Football, White joked about his looming matchup with Beckham Jr., who also attended LSU.
“I can tell you now I’m going to be up all night with some headaches breaking down these guys’ film. But I’m looking forward to playing against my alumnus, my guy Odell. It’s going to be the first time I get to go against him since he and my guy Jarvis (Landry) gave me a ‘welcome to college’ deal back when I was at camp back at LSU. So I’m looking forward to it, man, hopefully I can make a better impression than I did the first time we lined up.”
Buffalo’s secondary is one of the best and brightest in the league. Heading into the 2019 NFL season, Tre’Davious White will look to build upon his strong first two years with the Bills as the defense hopes to enjoy some national recognition for their successes.