Whether credit for the Buffalo Bills' 2017 draft should go to first-year coach Sean McDermott or ex-general manager Doug Whaley, who was fired after the draft and then praised for his work in it, the team should be pleased with the early returns from its six selections. Three of those players -- cornerback Tre'Davious White, offensive tackle Dion Dawkins and linebacker Matt Milano -- were starters at the end of the regular season.
Grade: Above average
Best rookie: White. The voting for NFL defensive rookie of the year probably will come down to White and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore. White led all NFL defensive rookies with 1,052 snaps this season, and his four interceptions were tied with New Orleans' Marcus Williams for second most behind Lattimore's five interceptions. White ranked third among rookies in pass breakups, with 11, and Lattimore ranked fourth, with nine.
Most improved rookie: Milano. A fifth-round pick from Boston College, Milano had a quiet training camp and practiced mostly with the second- and third-team defense. He did not play a defensive snap until Week 4 when starting weakside linebacker Ramon Humber suffered a thumb injury, but that proved to be the spark for Milano. He took over the starting job from Humber in Week 13.
Most disappointing rookie: Wide receiver Zay Jones. In what he has called a humbling introduction to the NFL, the NCAA FBS career receptions leader finished the season with 27 catches for 316 yards and two touchdowns despite injuries and a thin depth chart at receiver creating an opportunity for him. Jones saw his playing time diminish over the final month of the season, which he spent mostly as the No. 3 receiver, and probably will be part of a training-camp competition next summer for the No. 2 wide receiver job.
Jury is still out on...: Quarterback Nathan Peterman. The fifth-round pick from Pittsburgh might forever be known for his disastrous start Nov. 19 against the Los Angeles Chargers, in which he threw five interceptions before being benched at halftime. Overall, Peterman played 97 snaps over four games. His 38.4 passer rating is the sixth-worst of any rookie quarterback over the past 10 seasons. Peterman will not immediately factor into the discussion of possible starters for the Bills next season, but he needs more development and playing time before a clearer evaluation can be made of his viability as an NFL quarterback.
Undrafted rookie evaluation: The Bills did not have any undrafted rookies play snaps this season until defensive tackle Rickey Hatley (Missouri) played 23 in the regular-season finale. The Bills signed Hatley to their practice squad Dec. 23 and he was promoted three days later. Of the original group of undrafted rookies signed after the draft, only wide receiver Brandon Reilly (53-man roster), defensive tackle Marquavius Lewis (practice squad), tight end Jason Croom (practice squad) and tight end Keith Towbridge (injured reserve) remained with the team at the end of the regular season.