NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
As Patriots fans, we learned this season just how important it is to have great corners. Darrelle Revis showed us that having a true shutdown corner can elevate a team from a contender to a champion. We have all heard the saying you can never have too much of a good thing, well that applies to corners in the NFL. Even if the Patriots do keep Revis (please do!) that doesn’t mean they are set at the position. Alfonzo Dennard took a big step backwards this year and Logan Ryan had more bad moments than good. Even Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler is still an unknown commodity that may struggle to make the team next season. I have been focusing this week on corners trying to get my positional rankings done(look for that article later this week), but I thought I would highlight one more player.
Name: Kevin White
School: TCU (Sr.)
Weight: 180 Lbs
White was a dependable corner in college that was consistently asked to cover the other team’s best receiver. He shows good speed to keep up with receivers on go routes. White also plays with good technique and balance, getting inside position on deep balls and forcing the receiver towards the sideline. He has good strength in his lower body and minimizes his height deficiencies with a good vertical. White will fight through blocks and stick his nose in to make a tackle in the run game. White also gets his head around,locates the ball well and has good hands to finish the play. In the play below, you see how White is able to run with the receiver, get great position and really doesn’t get the bigger receiver a chance to make a play on the ball.
The obvious negative for White is his size. He does play bigger than his size, but at his height and weight, he does get pushed around by bigger players. White also is stiff in and out of breaks and struggles with quicker receivers and more polished route runners. In the play below, you can see how he struggles with the route the receiver is running. He gets himself turned the wrong direction, not once, but twice on the same play. Luckily for him, the play went the other way, but it is concern.
White jumped on the radar with his performance against the other Kevin White, when he held the potential first round pick to just 3 catches for 28 yards. It was one of many great performance he had this year, but to be honest, after watching several games, I am not sure where to put him. On one hand, his strengths make you want to put him on the outside, but can he hold up against the bigger wide receivers in the NFL? His size says that maybe he should move inside to the nickel role, but his stiff hips makes me question if he can stay with quicker receivers who can change direction quickly. I lean towards leaving him on the outside in off coverage and see if he can still win with his speed, technique, and athleticism. For Patriots fans, he reminds me of Ellis Hobbs with better down field coverage ability. He has a NFL skillset and if he can go to a team that can use him correctly, he can be solid contributor. I give him a Day 2 grade with an eye on the 3rd round.