Just two years ago, the Bears took a wide receiver by the name of Kevin White in the 2015 NFL Draft. Chicago needed the help at the receiver position desperately but he hasn’t worked out. Now, he enters a pivotal season. Will he rise to the challenge or will he simply fade away?
Before White saw the field for his rookie season, he went down with a tibia fracture and missed the entire 2015 season. Bears fans were disappointed that they wouldn’t get a chance to see their team’s first round pick play. Chicago could have used White in 2015 too, so that made it even worse.
After a season of sitting on the sideline, White made it through training camp last season and started at wide receiver. However, after four games he was taken down by another leg injury. This time it was a fracture of his fibula. After starting the season catching 19 passes for 187 yards and no touchdowns, White was out of the lineup again and the Bears were stuck.
Now, White is ready to try to prove that he can not only stay healthy but that he can live up to his lofty draft status. His preseason has been quiet and he hasn’t impressed anyone. From what this writer saw of him in camp, he didn’t do anything special or spectacular. He was just plain ordinary. Is that what you want out of a former first round pick?
Another issue that White had during camp happened when he had a clash with his receivers coach Zach Azzanni. Azzanni told the Chicago Sun Times:
"“He’s not where I want him to be – or where we need him to be.”"
That’s not a resounding endorsement for White. And it didn’t make White happy. After the whole affair, White sent out a tweet:
The tweet gave many the impression that White was disgruntled and mad at the Bears. The last thing that we as Bears fans want is someone acting strangely while not getting along with teammates and the coaching staff. Sound familiar? This did raise a red flag. But perhaps you could blame the coach for making his feelings public and not the player.
After having seen so many Bears players come and go over the last 30 plus years, this is nothing new. There is always a player with high draft status who comes in and doesn’t live up to his expectations. I can think of several former Chicago Bears players who have been high draft picks that fell flat. Remember David Terrell?
But we cannot compare White to someone like Terrell. At least not yet.
But there is still hope for White. 2017 will be the year that he either resurrects his career or proves that he cannot live up to his draft status. Perhaps he can “break out” this season and show us why General Manager Ryan Pace drafted him. If he fails, unfortunately, Pace will look bad.
Let’s hope that White has the kind of year that we have been waiting for him to have. Hopefully, he will stay free of injuries and will be able to contribute strongly. White might be held back by the potential lack of stability at the quarterback position this season but he needs to step up as much as he can. Otherwise, he may not be a Bear next season.