The Buffalo Bills addressed arguably their most pressing need by selecting LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White with their first-round pick in the NFL Draft Thursday night.
The Bills, who lost top cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the New England Patriots in free agency, grabbed White with the 27th overall choice, which they acquired earlier in the night in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Bills gave up their original 10th overall pick for the Chiefs' third-round choice this year and their first-round choice in 2018. The Chiefs used Buffalo's choice to select Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
"We really felt like the value we were looking at, very rarely can you do that, we can cash that into a first-round pick in 2018 and then add a third-round on top of that," coach Sean McDermott said. "A very unique situation for us."
It was hardly a coincidence that the Bills made the deal with the Chiefs. Andy Reid, Kansas City's coach, gave McDermott his first coaching job in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and the two have a close relationship. McDermott said his "trust" in Reid factored into making the trade.
The 5-foot-11, 192-pound White was a four-year starter at LSU, working on both the right and left sides. In 49 career college games, he had 112 tackles, 34 pass breakups, and six interceptions for 61 yards in returns.
"Solid person, solid football player, a guy we had on our board and felt like, if we could get him, it'd be a good pick for us and there we saw him at 27," McDermott said.
Although the Bills interviewed White at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, the cornerback said he had no inclination they were going to draft him until the moment the pick was made.
"I really didn't know," he said during a conference call with media covering the Bills. "I knew that they needed a corner, but I didn't know they were going to pick me. But I didn't know they pretty much had that much interest in me at all.
"It wasn't until my phone rang that I knew who it was. I knew it was a New York number, their pick was coming up, so I knew it was them."
White doesn't have the greatest speed for the position; he was timed at 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
However, White is an outstanding athlete with the quality scouts love in cornerbacks: loose hips to allow him to turn quickly and smoothly out of his backpedal.
White shows exceptional body control and strong ball skills. He also does a solid job in defending the run and gets high marks for his tackling ability.
"He's versatile," McDermott said. "He plays inside, he plays outside. He's also a returner, in terms of special-teams value. ... Overall, I really like the quality of the football player and he's going to come in and compete right away."
He is viewed as a high-character player with a great deal of intelligence. He already has his degree, in sports administration, and was the class valedictorian at his high school, Green Oaks, in Shreveport, La.
"I feel real good about the end of the first day," McDermott said. "We've done our homework and we've put ourselves in a position moving forward to have two first-round picks next year, we've added a third this year, and we've added Tre'Davious White. I'll be able to sleep fairly well tonight."