Draft Profile: Kevin White (WR)
Scouting the Outstanding Pass Catcher Currently Threatening Amari Cooper’s Reign as the Draft’s Consensus Number One Receiver
WR- West Virginia University
40-Yard Dash: 4.35 sec.
Vertical Jump: 36.5”
Broad Jump: 10’3”
Bench Press: 23 Reps
2013-2014: Started 22/24 Games
2014: 102 catches, 1,318 yards, 9 TDs
2014: Second Team All-American
2014: Finalist for Biletnikoff Award (Nation’s Best WR)
In every year’s draft, there are a few special players I have dubbed “highlighters”. That’s because no matter where you look on the screen, you’ll always see them, sticking out boldly. In an otherwise average West Virginia offense, Kevin White is the highlighter. White has an incredible physical skill set, and a desire to win every one on one matchup he faces. His eye-popping performance at the combine put teams on notice, and Kevin White’s film now has him chasing Amari Cooper to the top of NFL draft boards.
Just. A. Freak. Kevin White’s athleticism and raw talent are evident to even the most casual observers. His speed is as good as anyone in the class on film, and he does not shy away from contact. White bursts off of the line aggressively, and is not disturbed by press coverage or bump and run. When attempting to gain separation, he uses elite footwork and release to confuse defenders. Even when he is not able to use pure speed to beat a corner, White can stop short with incredible quickness on short routes, or simply out-jump the defensive back downfield. The jumping ability possessed by White is unmatched in this year’s class, and it would be hard to find a receiver better at catching contested passes down the field. Kevin White’s physical style allows him to fight for jump balls, and he can often draw pass interference calls (by giving the receiver no choice but to foul him in order to stop White from making them look like children). White also uses this strength and physicality blocking, making a difference even when the ball isn’t going his way.
One of the best parts of White’s film is watching him work after the catch. He is Marshawn Lynch embodied in a receiver. He never goes down without a fight, and often breaks multiple tackles to turn even short passes into big gains. White loses almost no speed when catching the ball, and remains in stride even when locating deep passes over his shoulder. Kevin White’s abilities to break tackles and create big plays out of even basic slant and hitch routes make him one of the most electrifying receivers in this year’s class, and a big play threat on every single down.
Kevin White suffers the same fate that befalls many of college football’s freakish athletes heading to the NFL: he’s raw. White was asked to run very few complex routes in the Mountaineers system, and his film suffers somewhat from that. This isn’t his fault obviously, and it will be more telling when we can see him running an NFL route tree. Those looking at White can link this back to the accusation that he doesn’t have “track athlete” straight-line speed: if White runs more dynamic routes, and develops his ability getting in and out of his breaks, it will make it easier for him to shake defenders and create separation.
Occasionally, White has a tendency to give up on plays when he feels a foul should be called. This will hurt him early on with NFL coaches, and there is no excuse to not play to the whistle. White cannot rely on a flag being thrown. In addition to this, he appears to suffer from concentration drops on occasion. This is a coachable error, but it led to one or two cringe worthy moments on his tape. White is raw on tape, but there is no reason to believe that his athleticism will not help him when learning the types of routes he will have to run in an NFL offense. Kevin White has to improve his focus, route running, and discipline before he can dominate defenders professionally like he did at WVU.
While Kevin White would be one of the best choices for Miami to fill their need at wide receiver, it is hard to image the team moving up far enough to select him. Currently, White is on his way to potentially leapfrogging Amari Cooper as the top receiver, which would surely put him out of Miami’s reach. Overall, the Dolphins might be better off staying put, and using the 14th overall on Devante Parker (if they decide receiver is the way to go in Rd. 1). Kevin White is far superior to Parker as an athlete and playmaker, but he also comes with a much higher potential to bust.
While moving up in the draft should be approached very cautiously, the Dolphins front office should take a long, hard look at acquiring the West Virginia star. The team’s current lack of draft picks is a big concern, and could prevent them from making a move to climb into the top 10. If the price is right, it would make sense for Miami to trade up to select Kevin White, who has the potential to terrorize NFL defenses for years to come.