Not only did the Oakland Raiders pass on cornerback Tre’Davious White in the 2017 NFL Draft, but he could be more than a handful on Sunday for them.
While the Oakland Raiders were enjoying their first trip to the AFC playoffs in well over a decade last season, the Buffalo Bills saw the end to yet another coaching regime in Western New York and another season where they would be picking in the top-10.
Buffalo had the No. 10 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, but traded back to No. 27 with the Kansas City Chiefs to get their guy. While Kansas City got its quarterback of the future in Patrick Mahomes II out of Texas Tech, Buffalo might have landed one of the best defensive backs in this draft class in LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White.
White has come in and been a difference maker in the Bills secondary. According to Pro Football Focus, he is the fourth-highest graded cornerback in football at 89.9. He has played 407 snaps for the Bills and is the exact type of player that Sean McDermott wanted in his secondary in Buffalo.
While White was considered to be a fringe first-round talent coming out of LSU, he’s been a way more productive rookie than anybody Oakland drafted in 2017. To be fair, it’s still insanely early.
However, White was available at No. 24 in the first round. Oakland went with Gareon Conley out of Ohio State. Conley had off-the-field allegations coming out of Columbus. He has also battled shin splints all season long.
Add in that the Raiders’ second-round pick in safety Obi Melifonwu has been on Injured Reserve all season due to knee surgery and you have to feel a bit jealous of what the Bills have gotten out of White.
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He’s playing at a high enough level that it has made Bills Mafia forget about the inconsistent nature of Pro Bowl cover corner Stephon Gilmore, now with the New England Patriots. White will also be the guy expected to track Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree on Sunday afternoon.
PFF has White as the fourth-best cover corner in football at 89.5. While he has the talent to contain Oakland’s No. 1 receiving option in Amari Cooper, minimizing Crabtree’s effectiveness as a high-end possession receiver is the best way for the Bills to slow down the Raiders’ passing attack.
With the weather changing in frigid Western New York, the Raiders could be in for a long day if quarterback Derek Carr doesn’t figure out where White is at all times. The Raiders don’t have the defense just yet to be giving the opposition points via defensive touchdowns.
This isn’t the same Bills team we’ve seen flounder in the AFC East for the last 15 years. Buffalo will be more than a handful on Sunday for the Silver and Black. If the Bills are going to win, it will be with defense. Look for White to do his best to slow down the Raiders’ aerial assault on Sunday.