TURNS 25: FEBRUARY 3, 2017
FINAL RATING: 6.5
The latest in a long line of Patriots sub backs, James White has done enough in his third season out of Wisconsin that Bill Belichick mentioned him in the same breath as both Kevin Faulk and Shane Vereen on multiple occasions in 2016. High praise. And when Dion Lewis was preparing to make his return from the physically-unable-to-perform-list in November -- when there was some question as to whether or not there would still be a role available for White in the Patriots offense -- Belichick doubled down.
"It would take somebody playing pretty good to be better than him," Belichick said at the time.
He wasn't lying.
Even with Lewis back in the mix, White has continued to be a consistent option in the passing game, seeing 5.8 targets per game between Weeks 11 and 16 with Lewis active versus the 5.2 per game White saw before Lewis' return. Despite some drop issues late in the year (three combined in Weeks 15 and 16), White has been a dependable set of hands for Tom Brady out of the backfield and reliable in pass-protection. A hard= worker, and an affable character in the locker room, White will turn 25 just before the Super Bowl, making him ancient as far as this list is concerned. Still, you'd be hard-pressed to find a player on this list whose post-score celebrations carry more swag. (That's something under-25s say, right? Swag? No?)