Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

20 most important Patriots in 2017: No. 8, Malcolm Butler

Ryan Hannable
July 13, 2017 - 1:12 pm

With training camp approaching, we’re having a series featuring the 20 most important Patriots players for the upcoming season. The countdown will continue through July 24, the week training camp begins.

No. 8: Malcolm Butler

Position: Cornerback

2016 stats: 48 tackles, 16 pass defensed, 4 interceptions

Why he’s No. 8: Since taking over for Darrelle Revis in 2015 as the Patriots’ No. 1 cornerback, Butler has proven himself as one of the best in the entire league. Each and every week the 27-year-old is matched up with the best wide outs in the game. He’s most known for his tenacious ball skills and always competing to the end of the play. Butler was upset this past offseason when the team signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a megadeal and there was some question of whether or not he would play for the Patriots this season, but he will for $3.91 million in the last year of his contract.

With Butler and Gilmore, the Patriots have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league. It will be worth watching Butler’s attitude with Gilmore on board, and if the team were to ever ask him to play the slot. For the Patriots secondary to be at its best, it needs Butler to be all in. Behind Butler on the depth chart is Eric Rowe and Cyrus Jones. While this may be Butler’s last season in New England, he’s vital to the success of the team.

Click here for the complete series to date.

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