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Patriots CB Malcolm Butler has 2nd highest positive play rate over past two seasons

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Butler was great in his first season as a starter and there is reason to think he’ll reach new heights in 2016.

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New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler tweeted out some cryptic messages on the 4th of July, but according to the Herald’s Jeff Howe is that there is no new contract.

Still, the Patriots should hurry along the paperwork because Butler is primed to become one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, at least per Pro Football Focus.

While the article from PFF is dedicated to Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett, there’s a Patriots-friendly nugget buried in the table.

Verrett leads PFF’s ratings in “positive plays per coverage snap” at 7.3%, with Butler a hair behind in 2nd place at 7.2%. No other cornerback tops 6.7%. Only eight cornerbacks top 6.0%.

This means that Butler stands out constantly when on the field.

Of course, these grades are slanted towards players that see plenty of targets as these cornerbacks are given more opportunities to create a positive play. Butler was asked to shadow some of the top wide receivers in the NFL last season and he saw plenty of passes in his direction. Players like Chris Harris Jr., Richard Sherman, and Patrick Peterson don’t show up well on the chart because opposing quarterbacks avoid throwing them the ball.

Harris, Sherman, and Peterson do feature at the top of the complementary chart “negative plays per coverage snap” and that’s the chart we hope Butler climbs next season because it means opposing teams respect his ability.

But until Butler receives that national acclaim, he’s going to keep making positive plays on the ball and being a stud in the Patriots secondary.