WR Kevin White Emerging
One of the best parts of the NFL Draft Season is seeing prospects who were not on the public radar step up and begin to catch the eye of the public and rise up draft boards for teams doing evaluations. After such an incredible Wide Receiver class in 2014, the 2015 class has a lot to live up to and a new senior face is beginning to emerge as a potential first round pick, Kevin White of West Virginia. A transfer from a Lackawanna Community College in Scranton Pennsylvania, White immediately earned starts last season as a junior and has now become the go to weapon for the Mountaineer offense. Drawing comparisons from Larry Fitzgerald to DeAndre Hopkins, many are expecting Kevin White to follow up his amazing senior campaign with some star NFL performances. But how good is he as an NFL Draft prospect? Here is his scouting report breakdown:
White’s size will have NFL teams licking their chops. At 6’3 and around 210 pounds, White has the big body to box out opposing corners and work against bigger press corners. On top of the body size, White has huge hands and a big wingspan that creates an amazing range when the ball is thrown his way. As the NFL is looking to bigger corners, the WR position having someone to physically match up is becoming even more crucial and that is exactly what Kevin White brings to the table.
Kevin White won’t wow anyone with his deep speed, he is likely a 4.55 type of player, but in combination with his size this makes for a dangerous athlete. There is a lot to like in terms of his athletic ability. He has a great vertical leap and utilizes a strong lower body to go up and snatch the ball from the air, especially during contested passes. His body control is phenomenal and can make some spectacular grabs. It also allows him to stay in bounds while catching the football and lay out for passes if need be. The ball doesn’t have to be perfectly thrown for him to make a play on the ball, which is an incredibly underrated trait at the next level.
This is probably the weakness for Kevin White at this point in his football career. He doesn’t run with the nimbleness and foot speed that is ideal for a WR, and many of his routes are run flatfooted which can slow down momentum when making cuts. There are some routes White runs well, namely streaks and curls, but he struggles to get separation on posts and ins, which could be a struggle in making the NFL adjustment. Despite the lack of precise footwork, White does run a decent route tree for the style of offense run at West Virginia. This should allow him to get up to speed quickly in the NFL and be implemented into a more complicated offense.
White’s hands and catch radius has wowed NFL teams and his catching ability in general is a strength. He will drop the occasional pass, but the way he fights for contested passes and can make catches even with defenders hanging on him or trying to force the ball out. His catching technique, especially when open and not contested, is lacking however. He uses his body to secure passes plenty which can lead to drops or loss of acceleration when attempting to catch and run. This can create some difficulties in the pros when getting hit hard and defenders attempting to jar that ball incomplete. White often does better catching the tough passes than the easy passes.
After The Catch:
White is very tough to bring down by the typical corner or safety due to his size and strength. Though he doesn’t have great elusiveness, he has enough to power to punish someone for taking him head on. He does get caught from behind often on catches, and his lower body can get tangled in traffic. He will generally win going head on with corners and safeties, almost always falling forward upon contact and picking up extra yards. He isn’t afraid to stretch out for a first down or touchdown when needed.
Kevin White isn’t an elite WR prospect, but he is a very good one. His size and athletic ability give him a ton of professional upside and he should match up well against starting corners in the NFL. Many of the fundamentals in terms of footwork and catch technique still need work, but with coaching, he could become one of the best WRs in the NFL. He has had some games where he was shut down, namely the Oklahoma State game this year, but the potential is there. White is expected to be the top senior WR off the board in April and that will likely occur in the middle of the first round.