2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report – Kevin White, WR West Virginia

Kevin White has been one of the biggest breakout stars in the 2014 college football season.  After playing his high school football in New Jersey, the wide receiver played two years at Lackawanna College before transferring to West Virginia as a junior.  He had a solid year from a production standpoint in his first year, White opened with a streak of 7 games in a row with at least 100 yards receiving, averaging a touchdown per game.

Dana Holgerson’s offense has been great for White as he has done just about everything a team could ask a receiver to do.  Inside, outside, running a diverse route tree that is translatable to the NFL, asking him to block has aided his development in a way that should be extremely beneficial to the next level.  White has been the primary receiving threat and his success has been critical for West Virginia’s fortunes this past season.

Vitals & Build

  • Born June 25th (year not listed)
  • 6’3″ 210lbs (Listed)

Route Running & Technique

The first aspect of White’s technique that jumps out is his stance.  It needs to be addressed immediately as it is simply doing more harm than good.  White is almost always rolling out of his stance to get into his routes with some situations, he is taking a full extra beat to get into his release or hopping out of his stance into his release.

The result is White is simply slow off the ball.  His stance is awkward with his weight back and needs to be improved to get his weight forward so he can fire off of the line faster.

  • His weight is back, then his first movement is down instead of forward.  White needs to get his weight forward and his first movement going forward so he is faster off of the line.

White has a good skill set for running routes and the savvy to keep opponents on their toes.  He does a nice job of sinking his hips, making cuts and is efficient with his footwork.  White does not waste a ton of motion and can get in and out of his breaks effectively and redirects his weight well.

In addition to the fact that White showcases the ability to run a wide variety of routes that ask him to make cuts from anywhere from 45 degrees to a full 180 on a hitch or a comeback, the Mountaineer offense does a great job of asking him to run them in the course of their offense.

White does a great job of varying how he runs routes, giving opponents different looks to keep them guessing.  There are games where the opposing corner trying to cover him are completely exasperated and draws penalties or causes coverage breakdowns due to the corner misreading what White is trying to do.

The other aspect that allows White to be difficult to cover is that because of his strength, he is extremely comfortable with contact.  While some receivers may want to bow out on routes to get away from the defender and contact, White goes right at the defender and forces them to adjust on what he is doing.  He tends to attack a particular shoulder (as he should), and force the defender to open their hips and turn.  As a result, White is able to create a ton of space on comeback type routes, giving his quarterback really easy throws to gain yardage.

  • Even against Alabama’s off man with their inside shuffle drop from the corner, White attacks right at him, forces him to open up and then breaks into his route.

  • White attacks right at the defender before breaking out to go up for the fade.  The defender does a good job holding his water, but White is still in position to make the catch in the back corner of the end zone.

White’s comfort level with playing in tight spaces is part of why he is so effective on deep passes and jump balls.  Because he is often already in contact with the defender or close enough to judge, he does not have to account for him after the ball is in the air and can focus entirely on the ball in flight, making it easier for him to track the ball.  It also makes it so White can plan where he wants to create space from the defender when he wants to go up for the ball.

  • White shows the ability to sell and make precise cuts here.

  • White attacks the outside shoulder and leaves the Oklahoma corner in his wake for an easy touchdown.

  • White attacks on the deep vertical route and makes a quick step inside that causes the corner to hesitate enough where White is able to blow by; a better pass could result in a big play and potentially a score.

  • White does a great job here of settling in the space in the zone and giving his quarterback an easy throw.

Hands

White is a hands catcher first with notable strength.  When he gets the ball in his hands, it is noteworthy if it comes out between the size and strength of his hands.  There are plenty of examples where he catches the ball and takes a hit from opponents and is able to hold onto the ball without issue.  Occasionally, when balls are put on White, especially on some quick hitches and comeback type routes, the ball can get into his body, but he is confident in his hands and will attack the football.

As impressive as his hands are, his ability to track and concentrate on the ball in the air might be better.  On deep balls, with bodies around him, crossing in front of him or in some situations, through pass interference, White is outstanding in finding the football to make a play.  Additionally, he does a nice job of timing his jump to high point the football.  His jumps are not often all that high but he times it extremely well to haul in passes.  If the ball hits the ground on passes to White, it tends to be a slight misjudgment on where he was tracking the football, but he has shown to be a dangerous target on deep passes as well as jump balls.

  • White does a great job of concentrating on the football and is able to high point it with ease.

  • Another situation where White goes up and gets the football at its highest point and shows the size of White’s hands.

  • A deep ball where White undercuts the double coverage and is able to go up and track the football, securing the catch.

  • White has to fight through pass interference and stay in bounds while tracking this ball; he still makes the catch.

Run After Catch

White’s ability to high point the football and make big catches down the field may overshadow how good he is when he catches the ball on the move.  He is efficient when it comes to catching the football cleanly and transitioning to ball carrier.  As a result, White plays faster than his timed speed might indicate, able to immediately put pressure on defenders trying to tackle him.

  • Here, White shows how seamlessly he can go from pass catcher to ball carrier while on the move, allowing him to make the most of this screen.

With the ball in his hands, White often keeps his shoulders square and is willing to lower his shoulder through contact in the middle of the field.  He can also use quick cuts to make an opponent miss.  The combination of power and agility can keep opponents off balance.  Near the sideline, White will try to maximize gains but he will get out of bounds when he feels there is no more yardage to gain.  When in the middle of the field, he is far more aggressive and looking to take on everyone to pick up as much yardage as possible.

  • This is a simple screen to White where he is able to get take advantage of some good blocking and make a couple moves of his own to score the touchdown.

White’s overall speed as it relates to being timed may be pretty average but his agility and how he sets up plays after the catch make him play faster than his timed speed might suggest.  As a result, he can maximize plays or get far more yards after the catch than other receivers.

  • On 2nd & 4, White catches a quick 3 yard hitch that would have set up 3rd & 1 at the 46.  As he catches the football, he sets up his move after the catch.  White sticks his inside foot in the ground, pushes off and spins around a tackler allowing him to not only get the 1st down, but another 14 yards.

White has clearly shown he can take plays to the house at the collegiate level and while there might be situations where he can do that in the NFL, it would be far less frequent.  His quickness and strength allow him to be a difficult player to tackle at times, but his raw speed is rather ordinary and NFL defenders will be able to catch him from behind.  Nevertheless, the amount of plays White is capable of making would more than make up for his lack of deep speed.

Blocking

White is a capable blocker, but he is not exactly an enthusiastic one.  Between his strength and physical style of play, he can be a far more dominant blocker if he chooses.  He gets in position and is usually satisfied with sealing off the opponent from the play.  For the most part, that is fine, but he has an opportunity to make his life easier on passing plays.

First, if White fires off the ball like he is potentially a passing threat, opponents are not sure what to make of him.  Second, corners get tired of being beaten up physically.  In both cases, White can make it that much more difficult for opponents to key on what he is doing or maintain their focus, which just give him an advantage.

  • White does enough to get in the way and make sure the corner does not make the play.  It is not a play that coaches will complain about, but it does show that White, were he more ambitious as a blocker, could have done more to give the ball carrier more space to the sideline.

  • White gets in position and more or less stops while looking for the ball carrier.  Instead, he should just press that shoulder and take the defender off the field to open up more running room until he hears the whistle.

  • Nice block here, creating a lane for the tail back that scores; needs to get out of the habit of looking for the ball carrier and just worry about blocking, but he does a good job here.

White is certainly not a bad blocker at this point.  The fact that he is as good as he is while not putting an overwhelming amount of effort into it would suggest he can not only be an effective blocking threat, but a true weapon in the running game.

System Fit

White’s best fit is in a system that allows him to be the #2 option at least initially.  He does his best work underneath as well as when it comes to high pointing the football or near the sideline.  It seems unlikely he is a consistent deep threat that can win with speed but is someone that can be deadly in the red zone as well as moving the chains on drives.  He should also be able to gain yards after the catch and exploit the open field.  White should be a viable option on the outside but should be able to contribute in the slot as well.

Draft Projection

White warrants a first round grade and should go around the 20s of the draft.  The speed question could have an impact, depending on which way it goes, but he has a proven NFL skill set that should be translate quickly to the next level and allow him to be productive.

The clips were provided by Draftbreakdown.com