I have an unhealthy obsession with ESPN writer Jackie MacMullan because she possesses one of the most effortless styles in sports journalism. She penned a must-read article on New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, in what appears to be All Time Greats Praise Malcolm Butler week.
"I'm not saying I'm the best," Butler says to MacMullan, "but that's what I'm working towards."
MacMullan speaks with players around the Patriots locker room for their sense on the potential Butler holds, and includes a unique exchange between Butler and a Patriots scout.
The best nugget is from former Patriots All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who offered the following insight:
Throughout the season, Revis, the four-time All-Pro, stressed to Butler the importance of breaking down film, of refining his technique, of continuing to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. Revis imparted this advice knowing he could well be grooming his potential replacement.
He'd seen the potential early: Before Butler had even taken a snap in uniform, or, for that matter, before he even made the 53-man roster, Revis tracked him in training camp, turning to a team member and remarking, "That kid is the best defensive back out here."
Butler and Logan Ryan continue to spout Revis-isms, showing that the impact of the Jets cornerback was far more than just a one-year deal. The duo has actually exceeded last year's cornerback pairing, with Revis serving as the catalyst for both growth and learning.
Ryan, Brandon Browner, and Devin McCourty also heaped mounds of praise at Butler's feet, but don't expect the young cornerback to buy into it.
"I knew there would be a lot of pressure," Butler says. "I knew I couldn't live up to all of it, but I put so much pressure on myself, what's a little more?"
Go read the article here. It's well worth your time.