FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots second-year cornerback Malcolm Butler is enjoying a solid season, as he's used his Super Bowl interception as the springboard to become the team's No. 1 player at the position.
In the eyes of one NFL head coach, he has also placed himself in the discussion as the No. 1 corner in the NFL.
"Malcolm is probably one of the best in the league," Jets coach Todd Bowles said Tuesday on a conference call with Patriots reporters. "He shows up and takes the best guy."
Bowles' remarks come as his Jets team prepares to host the Patriots on Sunday at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET), and perhaps there is some level of pumping up the opposition from Bowles, which is something Bill Belichick is known to do at times.
But Bowles, a defensive coach at heart, sounded quite genuine when asked what he sees from Butler.
"He studies the game. He's not just a man corner, he's a zone corner too. He's feisty. He has very good technique, which is rare," Bowles said. "He has great hand-eye coordination, he reads the ball, and he accepts all challenges and works at it. I enjoy watching him play."
As for Butler's story of going from undrafted free agent to top-flight corner, Bowles pointed out how many good players go undrafted, or are picked late. He pointed to Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman -- a fifth-round pick in 2011 -- as one example.
"He's a great player as well," he said. "Some of the guys go through the system unnoticed and then they show some promise in camp, give them something to work with, and then they blossom. He's really blossomed. That was a great pick for them."