We take a look back at Malcolm Butler's 2016 season and offer our predictions for 2017.
2016 Honors & Awards: Associated Press All-Pro: Second Team
2016 Regular Season Stats:16 games played with 16 starts, 63 tackles, 4 interceptions, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries and 17 passes defensed.
- Butler had his first career two-interception game in the win vs. N.Y. Jets when he picked off QB Bryce Petty on third-and-11 in the first quarter and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick for a 21-yard gain at the end of the third stanza.
- He led the Patriots in interceptions with four on the season.
- Butler also led the Patriots in passes defensed with 17, which ranks tied for 10th most in team history dating back to 1994.
- He forced and recovered a fumble by WR Robby Anderson in the second quarter to mark the first forced fumble and fumble recovery of his NFL career in the win at N.Y. Jets.
- Butler recorded his first ever NFL sack when he took down QB Colin Kaepernick on the first play of the first quarter at San Francisco.
Check out the best photos of Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler from the 2016 NFL season.
Belichick on Butler:"Malcolm [Butler]'s really competitive. It really bothers him when a guy catches a ball on him and that's the kind of attitude you want to have from a defensive back. When they do catch it they want to make a real hard tackle and kind of make the guy pay for those yards that he got. Malcolm's a good tackler. Really he's a tough kid. I love the way he competes and not just for the ball in the passing game, but the tackle to kind of hit the other guy harder than the other guy hits him, that kind of aggressiveness. You don't get that out of every corner but he brings that and that's a good quality. It's a great quality."
Butler in 2017: Butler signed his restricted free agent tender and should be a fixture at cornerback once again in the New England secondary. He and newcomer Stephon Gilmore could form one of the best cornerback duos in the league, and his toughness and competitiveness will keep the Patriots defense near the top of the NFL.