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Kevin White: 2015 Dynasty Rookie and Prospect Analysis


In our 2015 Dynasty / Rookies / Prospects series, RotoBaller writer Edward Gorelik uses a couple of choice plays from a player's college career to profile their potential NFL future and immediate impact for the 2015 fantasy football season. In the second article of this series we look at Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Kevin White. The previous article on Todd Gurley can be found here.

Out of all the players in this draft class, the easiest to fall in love with from first viewing was Kevin White. White should enter this years Madden with a spectacular catch rating of 99, because he has an impressive array of highlight catches from his senior year at West Virginia. Lost in those catches though was how smart he is of a football player and his impeccable hand timing at the line of scrimmage and down the field. White's an every down threat at his current level, who can already put fear into NFL defensive backs and cause them to play scared for entire games- but he still is a player with a lot of room to grow. Let's look at four plays of his against Baylor, Alabama and Oklahoma, profiling the kind of player he is.

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Kevin White

One of Kevin White's best college plays, he's manned up against a single CB with no safety help. When the CB tries to get a hand on White, he immediately swipes it away with no issue before it can even touch him. He quickly gets separation from the CB but as he's running up the field, he notices the ball is under-thrown so he's going to have to do work in order to make this an easy catch. White slows his stride early, in order to let the CB catch up so he can lean back and bump him out of the play. White times his leap and hands at the exact moment where he can catch the ball at his highest point after boxing out the CB, and makes it look easy.

 

Then there's plays like this, Cover-3 Zone where White attacks the CB vertically, fakes an outside step using his entire body, breaks back inside and just flies past him. He's able to catch the ball over his shoulder, back to the line of scrimmage, in stride and the just outruns the DBs to the endzone. The man is 6'3 and 215 pounds while doing this.

 

Here you'll see another Cover-3 Zone, this time showcasing one of White's hidden, and more consistent talents. White has an incredibly powerful vertical stem that he constantly scares DBs with, even when he's not using it. Notice how his back is at a 45 degree angle with the ground as he releases, a common signal to the CB that the WR is about to go deep. However, he quickly raises it up after he gets the CB turned and running, and is able to fully break back to the QB in only 3 steps, which is the NFL caliber amount- and that's without perfect technique in his break. He catches the ball, knows without looking where the CB is coming down from, dodges him and is able to run for 15 extra yards.

 

It's not all rosy for White though. He's still a player in need of development, and on a play like here two of his current issues and the two that should slow down his rookie season come through. White isn't always willing to close that space between himself and the CB before entering his breaks and he has a little "beating the drum" move that he uses often but ineffectively as he enters his break, which also comes out in his releases and in some of his YAC attempts. Here, the combination of not closing the space and beating the drum don't scare the CB into opening his hips and allow him the time necessary to recover and challenge the catch.

 

Projecting Kevin White's Future

John Fox has had a long NFL career as a head coach, starting from the 2002 Panthers and now continuing onto the 2015 Chicago Bears. There's a lot of history to go by, and the reason that's being mentioned here is because Fox does not have a great track record of using offensive rookies. Montee Ball spent most of his first year playing change of pace, Cody Latimer spent his entire rookie year on the bench, Brandon Lafell only started a handful of games and DeAngelo Williams barely saw the field as a rookie. Only Jonathan Stewart had a significant amount of playing time early on in his career under the Fox tenure. However, Kevin White is one of the best offensive players Fox has ever had the chance to draft- and more than anything he is a significant every down and redzone threat, so he carries a lot of value when he's on the field, even if the ball isn't thrown to him. Still, the expectation for White should be a very small rookie role. Reports throughout the offseason have said that they've seen Kevin White running with the second team instead of the first at Bears offseason camps. If he does grow into a significant role, it might not happen until midway through the season.

That's just redraft value though. Where Kevin White shines is his long term potential. I don't want to bring up a name like Randy Moss but i mean, there's flashes of Randy Moss that come up in Kevin White. The long strides, the speed, the timing of his hands and leaps, the way he makes tracking a deep ball so easy. Let me clarify though, i'm not saying White is Moss- just that there's some real "wow" moments that make you wonder just how good he could be if he develops the rest of his game as strongly as his deep game. Athletically, there's nothing holding him back.

Luckily, White does have more to offer than just deep ball skills so there's already a framework for a very good player there. He's fantastic on curls and hitches, and his speed, length and size makes post routes easy for him to win. His height, comfort with contact when boxing out opponents and consistent extension of his hands make him a great potential redzone target as well, and he even has the ability to read defenses and make quick adjustments that make him a viable slot player. So his versatility could help him see the field as early as Jonathan Stewart did for Fox. On top of that, he's actually a very strong run blocker for a wide receiver- which for a lot of coaches can heavily influence their decision to start or not start a young player.

The final question is where do you draft in your dynasty White? Well, on my board, White's at 1.02 and the highest ranked wide receiver.

Although Amari Cooper definitely stands as the more polished and sure thing of this years receiver group, Kevin White doesn't show anything to make you shy away from him on his tape- and can even do some things that Amari Cooper can't. The ceiling of White combined with the level his game is already at and the football IQ he shows on the field project a very successful career for him especially as he perfects some of the techniques he already has. If his inside breaking routes can just become more smooth, White could become a consistent part of the #1 WR conversation every year.

 

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