by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
A first round pick (seventh overall) last year, it’s easy to forget about Kevin White after a stress fracture in his leg kept him off the field for the entire 2015 campaign. That would obviously be a mistake. He has the entire skill set teams look for from a wide receiver, as noted by NFL.com prior to the draft:
“He’s not just a product of West Virginia’s system — he’s talented. White showed off 23 reps on the bench press and a blazing 4.35 40 at the combine, proving he has the top-end speed to go with the size and strength. White came into West Virginia with very limited confidence, according to team insiders, but when he left, he had realized his rare talent. White lacks the polish of Amari Cooper, but some teams already believe he has the best upside of any wide receiver in this draft.”
There could be some early bumps, given the missed time, but there’s little reason to believe that he’s not going to hit the ground running. Skills are one thing, but will the opportunity also be there? When we start looking at the depth chart, it certainly appears so.
Wide Receivers – Alshon Jeffrey is the clear top option, but after that? Eddie Royal is the team’s third receiver, though after catching 91 passes for 980 yards back in 2008 he’s failed to top 62 and 778, respectively. He’s also consistently missed time (only two years playing a full 16 games) and is now 30-years old. Marquess Wilson has often been viewed as an intriguing option, but he’s already hurt and may not be ready for the start of the season (leaving someone like Josh Bellamy to rise up the depth chart).
Tight Ends – Martellus Bennett is in now in New England, leaving Zach Miller to lead a fairly uninspiring group (consistent “breakout” candidate Rob Housler is behind him). Miller had a nice season, with 34 receptions, 439 yards and 5 TD, but he’s not a dynamic player and should operate more as a safety valve in the passing game. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to make an impact, but he certainly isn’t going to limit the opportunities for White.
Running Backs – Matt Forte is gone, leaving the trio of Jeremy Langford, rookie Jordan Howard and Ka’Deem Carey to share backfield duties. There is certainly upside, but could the team go a little less run heavy in ’16? They ranked sixth in the league in rushing attempts (468), and with the likely drop there it is going to mean more passing attempts for Jay Cutler and company.
At the end of the day there is no questioning White’s potential and everything appears to be falling in line for significant opportunities. Maybe he’s his team’s #2 receiver, but he has the potential to be a Top 25 option for fantasy owners. Considering he’s currently the 36th wide receiver coming off the board, with an average ADP of 84.8, he could prove to be a tremendous draft day bargain.
Sources – NFL.com, CBS Sports, Fantasy Pros