Scouting Report: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Don't hesitate. Just draft this guy.
If your are looking for negative information on Kevin White, you’ll need to find a new internet in some parallel universe. The draft community loves White and so do we. And, to be frank, I went into my film work on White with suspicious eyes. I’m always a little cautious with the more hyped up players, and I wanted to find White’s flaws. Instead, what I have found is a potential fantasy monster. A monster without any red flags (that I care about) or fatal flaws.
I have heard some mild criticism of White. Some folks, for example, want to know why he came out of nowhere. While it’s true that White exploded statistically in 2014, I don’t think he came out of nowhere, and you have to consider his path. White was a JUCO transfer in 2013. As I have said in the past, JUCO guys are often unfairly greeted with skepticism.
Then there’s his age. Age is a hot button stat these days and I have to say that this often makes me laugh. Sure, in some extreme cases, age is a material factor. Brandon Weeden is a prime example of this. Conversely, players who leave early can often be forgiven for a lack of refined technique due to less time at the collegiate level. You always want to have proper context. Obviously, players usually leave early because they can. Those who do are often the elite talents. Hence, you will see a correlation between being young and having success at the next level. That being said, do we really need flow charts and stat models for this? Of course not. We just need to be cognizant of all the factors with each particular player. In short, a player usually leaves early because he’s very good. He’s not very good because he’s leaving early.
Back to White. Yes, he is going to be a slightly older-than-normal rookie. He’ll be 22-years old by the time the 2015 season kicks off. Is that any reason to downgrade him even slightly? Heck no. That’s because there are reasons for his age relative to his station on the typical NFL career path. White was hurt back in 2010. He sat out an entire season with a shoulder injury and missed another because he could not afford junior college tuition. How is this a reason to downgrade him now? To me, it is no reason at all. The only thing I take from it is that White would be in the NFL right now if not for circumstance.
If anything, the above serves as an explanation as to why White has such a large chip on his shoulder. A chip that seems to serve him well and that was on display at the combine. When asked why he should be taken first White did not hold back. “I don't feel that any receiver can do what I can do. Whether it's blocking, creating space, taking a tunnel screen to the house. I do it all. Don't feel like guys can do what I can do. Not saying that to be cocky, just confident. I feel like I'm one of a kind.” I’d say he’s arrogant, but we had a similar reaction to his game film. Nobody else in this class does what he does.
- Height - 6’3”
- Weight - 215
- Hand - 9 1/4”
- 40 - 4.35
- Bench - 23
- Vertical - 36.5”
- Broad - 9’10”
- 3 Cone - 6.92
- 20 Yd Shuttle - 4.14
- 60 Yd Shuttle - 11.52
These numbers are impressive for sure. Doubts about his speed (yes, some had doubts) were erased in Indianapolis and White’s place near the top of the draft was solidified.
- Toughness - White holds up exceedingly well to contact when the ball is in flight. This guy draws penalties like nobody’s business, and a lot of the time, he makes the play despite being interfered with. This is a very good indicator of success at the next level where the rules protect him after five yards.
- Speed - It’s easy to see on film. Watch what happens when the ball is in flight. For a big man, White has jets.
- Size - He’s the prototypical package when it comes to build.
- Hands - No problems here. White uses his hands well and can catch the ball away from his body. He’ll also make the spectacular grab from time to time.
- Separation - Once White is off the line, the defender is in big trouble. He separates well and he can do it in a flash. If he had played with a better quarterback, the highlight reel would have gone on forever. As I alluded to, he draws more pass interference calls than any college receiver I have ever scouted, and it’s because he beats single coverage so cleanly. Average defenders have little choice but to body and grab and hope for some leniency from the officials.
- Ball skills - He has an alpha or “my ball” mentality and he’s got the ability to convert. White tracks the ball well and can make catches from most angles. He makes the over-the-shoulder catch and will elevate over defenders and high-point the football. He's a serious handful down near the goal line.
- Release - If there is an area where White can and may need to improve, this is it. Don’t get me wrong, he gets off the line very well—better than most college receivers. He’ll chew up cushion in a flash, but against press coverage, he’s just good. If he gets better against the jam, he can be truly special at the next level. The reason I emphasize this is because, this is what teams are going to throw at him. They are going to bang him at the line and give help over the top. White already has the mentality to handle this. He faced plenty of extra coverage while playing at West Virginia. He just needs a little more advanced technique and a little more savvy. Both should be natural functions of time.
- Routes - White’s routes are good for a college receiver. He has room for improvement as most college guys do, because he’s really not asked to run the full tree. Still, from what we see on film, he can do it. We like his slant and his double-move in particular. I do notice that he has some trouble when he’s confronted mid-stem, but that’s a tactic defenders cannot employ at the next level. In the NFL, it’s hands off after five yards. He's also tough on the goal line fade, which you will see if you watch the game film against Baylor.
- Strength - His combine numbers say that he’s strong, but White shows tons of strength when you watch his film, too. His strength is measurable but also functional. This box is checked.
- Blocking - White blocks for his teammates, passionately, and he has the physical tools to be outstanding as a pro in this area. It’s an added plus and one of the things that separates him from the pack and he takes great pride in it. “Blocking separates receivers. I feel like to have a successful offense, receivers have to block, and that's what separates me. I love to block, I love to manhandle guys, I'll continue to do that.”
- Production - Just look at what White did last season. We are not into college stats as predictors for the next level, but White was impressive nonetheless.
Now, is he at Julio Jones’ level as a prospect like some folks claim? Not quite. He’s a baby Julio maybe. Jones is a little bigger and a little better getting out of breaks. Julio has bigger hands and jumps a little higher. He’s more explosive overall. I’d say that White exists in the area between Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins. Not bad, right? There are some meaningful comparisons to Larry Fitzgerald as well.
So what is White’s value for fantasy purposes? It’s high. Really high. In fact, he’d be my first choice in rookie drafts right now. Could that change if he goes to the wrong team? Maybe, but I doubt it. He checks too many of the crucial fantasy boxes.
- Ball skills
- Red Zone prowess
- Will be a high pick
- Should play a lot as a rookie
It’s hard to envision White going to a team that can afford to slow roll him as a rookie. He’s a good bet to be some team’s number one receiver by the end of 2015, if not sooner. He’s the big prize in dynasty drafts and he should be a target in redraft leagues as well—perhaps at the WR2 level in 12-team formats.
Kevin White is a stud, folks.
Other 2015 Scouting Reports:
- Post Draft Rookie RB Rankings
- 2017 Pre-Draft TE Rankings
- 2017 Pre-Draft QB Rankings
- 2017 Pre-Draft RB Rankings
- 2017 Pre-Draft WR Rankings
- 2017 Pre Combine Rankings
- Postseason Cheatsheets
- Tight End Rankings Week 17
- Wide Receiver Rankings Week 17
- Running Back Rankings Week 17