Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White realizes that 2017 is a critical year for his career.
You can call Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White a lot of things but clueless is not one of them. The third year wide receiver with more career games missed than catches realizes that the upcoming season is critical for his career.
White was selected seventh overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, Ryan Pace’s first as Chicago Bears GM. It seemed like a luxury pick at the time, with a receiving corp of Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson to go along with pass catching weapons like Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett.
You figured that Pace was picking “best available” and looking toward the future when he selected White. Well, the future is now as all of those leaders have moved on to greener turf.
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White missed his entire rookie season due to a stress fracture that came to light at the start of training camp. He came back last season to play four games with 19 catches for 187 yards while still waiting for career TD number one as we head into Year 3 of his career. His second season was cut short due to another leg injury.
White’s absence at OTA’s the other day raised more questions about his durability and the word “bust” was mentioned. White seems unaffected:
"“If you say I won’t be able to score a touchdown or get 100 yards in a game, that’s not going to affect how I play,” White said. “I just know I’ve got to turn it up and do what I’ve got to do.”"
Turn it up he must. With Alshon Jeffery in Philadelphia, White is one of the most tenured receivers in the room. The Bears added plenty of veterans around him, but White remains the hope for the future of the group. Guys like Victor Cruz and Kendall Wright will help build a bridge, but White must emerge this season or else the Bears will face another overhaul of the wide receiver position.
“It’s got to happen now,” White said Tuesday after practice. “I’ve got to turn it up.
Not only does White need to demonstrate availability, he needs to demonstrate straight up ability. When he came out of college, his route running was questioned. Three years into his career, we still don’t know if White has the ability to create separation and get open.
White’s availability and development will be one of the most-watched storylines of training camp and the preseason. It’s now or never. He’s got to turn it up.