Darrelle Revis last year on Malcolm Butler: "That kid is the best defensive back out here"

Well, that's not completely true. I'm sure Mr. Revis had a pretty high opinion of himself as well.

However, a new column by ESPN's Jackie MacMullan spotlights the rise of Patriots top corner Malcolm Butler, from one play wonder to indispensible defender.

It didn't take long for Revis and Browner to home in on Butler's keen instincts and unusual skills. Browner was struck, in particular, by his new teammate's "ridiculous" makeup speed.

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."

MacMullan's piece delvers into the increased pressure placed on Butler this season as he fills the shoes of the possible future hall of famer Revis. The young corner has stepped up to the challenge, of course, shutting down recievers such as Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins and most recently, Nate Washington. It hasn't all been perfect for Butler, but he is steadily improving and as only a second year player, the sky seems to be the limit for him.

If someone like Revis noticed that all the way back in training camp last season, it seems like Pats fans have a lot to get excited about in the future.