Who is the AFC East's biggest rising star? Our roundtable reporters give their picks.
Mike Rodak, Buffalo Bills reporter: Bills CB Tre'Davious White White. Many NFL fans know White for being on the receiving end of an after-the-whistle hit by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski that led to Gronk being suspended. But those in Buffalo watched White go wire to wire last season as the team’s No. 1 cornerback, starting all 16 games and playing in 99 percent of defensive snaps after being selected No. 27 overall. He finished a distant second to New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore in voting for the Associated Press’ defensive rookie of the year, but his four interceptions, 18 passes defensed and 92.0 overall grade by Pro Football Focus -- second in the NFL to only Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward -- should put White in the conversation among the NFL’s best at his position entering his second season.
Mike Reiss, New England Patriots reporter: Dolphins CB Xavien Howard. The third-year Dolphins cornerback out of Baylor played some of his best football in the final stretch of 2017, which could be the springboard to something bigger this year. The 6-foot-1, 196-pound Howard has all the physical tools coaches covet -- quarterback Tom Brady marveled at one of his interceptions against Howard last year -- which makes him an ideal candidate to take the next step in his career now if he can combine those tools with the everyday approach of some of the game’s elite cornerbacks.
Rich Cimini, New York Jets reporter: Jets S Jamal Adams. This came down to two former LSU teammates -- the Bills' White and Adams, both first-round picks in 2017. White was more productive and received more recognition than Adams last season, so I’m taking Adams as my rising star based on the belief that he still hasn’t reached his ceiling. To get to there, Adams must make game-changing plays as a pass defender. We know he can do it as a “box” safety -- he’s a terror near the line of scrimmage -- but he’s still looking for his first career interception. With a year of experience, his “eye discipline,” as coach Todd Bowles likes to call it, should be improved. In theory, that should result in takeaways. The energetic Adams talks a big game; now it’s time to back it up.