Monday, May 4, 2015

Chicago Bears 2015 Draft Breakdown: Kevin White

Kevin White is a big, physical, super athletic receiver. Those are all very good things. I lambasted the draft pick on Twitter when it was made, but I do believe that the best draft strategy is taking the best player available and only drafting for need when you see two prospects as very closely rated. Personally, I would have gone with Vic Beasley, but the Bears clearly thought very high of Kevin White, and if he was their top dude, then it was the right decision, even if there will be receiver options much later in this draft (Side note: All teams should try to get one spot ahead of the Bears. Last year, Aaron Donald, and this year, Leonard Williams. I really need to stop getting my hopes up and just take my dog for a long walk or something during the draft). Anyway, I admittedly didn't do a ton of research on the top receivers, so I wanted to take a deeper look at Kevin White and see exactly just what the Bears got with the seventh overall pick.

One thing that is undeniable about Kevin White is that he is an explosive athlete. He shows that on this play against Oklahoma where he does a stutter and go, and the Oklahoma cornerback is helpless.
It's a stutter step to the outside and OU's corner makes one false step before White breaks up the field and is gone at that point. He gets about five yards of separation and Trickett throws a nice ball out there, but he has the type of raw physical tools that are going to make him a tough cover at the next level. And just for fun, here's the end zone view of the play.

When you have speed like White, it can really open things up, and this player later in the Oklahoma game shows that.
He has the cornerback so scared of him going deep that he is still three yards away when he catches the ball on a quick curl. That gives him space to make things happen, and he is able to evade the corner and pick up a first down on what is a very simple route and throw. The impressive thing about his game against Oklahoma is how bad he made Zack Sanchez look in this game. Sanchez is a pretty decent NFL prospect for 2016 (if he declares), and he looked totally outmatched at times against White. Competition is something that gets overlooked too often, so this was an incredibly impressive display by White.

When he gets in the open field, he is a guy that creates yards with his strength more than with his quickness. He looks to bull guys over, as he isn't great at making guys miss with the ball in his hands. If he goes up against a corner who isn't very physical, White is likely going to eat his lunch.

Another thing I like about White is that he is always putting his hands away from his body to catch the ball. He is not a body catcher, which is a skill that will not translate to the NFL. Here, he does an excellent job of high-pointing the football and attacking it with his hands to make the touchdown catch.
You can't do it much better than that. And here's another angle for funsies.

If you think it's a fluke, this may help change your mind.
Dude really doesn't like Alabama.

I also looked at his athletic traits using Mock Draftable's excellent web graphs to show where guys rank at their position. Basically, he's big, strong, and fast, but he's not going to beat people with his quickness.

He also had a very interesting top comparison in Braylon Edwards. Edwards is seen as more of a bust now, but he was really good early on until his inability to catch the ball finally caught up with him. Still, a Braylon Edwards that can catch is a pretty valuable asset and somebody who can immediately pay dividends in the red zone. Although I would have liked to see the defense get a boost, Kevin White probably has the highest ceiling of any receiver in this draft. It's tough to be too mad about that.

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