by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Bears have lost WR Cameron Meredith for the season, so all eyes are falling on former first round pick Kevin White as the potential replacement. It makes sense, but just how feasible is it to expect significant production?
The biggest question since being selected seventh overall in 2015 has been injuries to his legs, which have held him to 4 games over his two seasons in the NFL. Of course they were unimpressive games as well, averaging just 9.8 yards per reception off of his 19 catches. It’s only the preseason, but that trend has continued as he’s turned 4 catches into 32 yards with a long of 19 yards.
The question now is if the injuries have cost him a step (or two), which would significantly limit his upside and potential. Remember, coming into the draft he was described by Walter Football as:
White is a future No. 1 receiver who could lead a potent passing attack. He has a unique combination of size and speed. White consistently achieved separation for West Virginia, yet he also made contested catches with the strength to outfight defensive backs for the ball. White can get downfield quickly while beating cornerbacks with his speed and burn defenses for long touchdowns. He’s too fast for safeties, and corners struggle to run with him as he easily gets separation out of his breaks. White is a deep-threat receiver who has the ability to work all levels of the field. White is dangerous with the ball in his hands with the ability to take a slant to the house with his speed and open-field running skills.
Obviously White still has the size, being listed at 6’3” and 216 lbs., but if he lacks the ability to separate from defenders exactly what type of production can we expect? Maybe the boom or bust would be taken out of his game, but when coupled with questionable quarterback play we’re talking 4-5 catches per week with 50-60 yards? That would equate to around 65 catches and 850 yards, hardly numbers that would blow us away. Could he be a consistent threat in the red zone? Perhaps, but in this offense would we expect more than 5-6 TD (especially with Zach Miller also in the mix)?
If healthy maybe he outproduces those numbers and shows the potential to live up to the hype once bestowed upon him. That’s a risk, though, and he shouldn’t be considered anything more than a WR4 with upside. Don’t let the opportunity cause you to suddenly start reaching for him.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com, Walter Football
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