Here we go again. Another swing at hyping up the most polarizing selection in the Ryan Pace draft era, Kevin White.
The featured photo you see above should be framed and hung on a wall for how rare the image is. That right there is an actual touchdown reception from the 2015 No. 7 overall pick, Kevin White.
That, of course, was when he was in college at West Virginia. Fast forward almost four years, and White has yet to come close to finding the endzone.
It’s no secret that White has had the worst injury luck with the Bears not seen since another receiver drafted by the team in the seventh round of 2013, Marquess Wilson. White is going into his fourth season and knows that it’s now or never.
Why should this season be any different from before? Why should we expect him to not get hurt?
It might not be different and he probably won’t play a full season, but Kevin White will offer a lot more production to this offense than many anticipate.
The offseason can be very misleading. A lot of football analysts put out their division standings and most improved players and MVP projections. Some of those predictions are warranted due to the easy nature of saying the Patriots will finish at the top of the AFC East, but the smaller predictions are where there is no real certainty.
Usually, the players who are not touted so highly in the offseason are the players who surprise us most. No one expected Jared Golf to win Most Improved Player even after offensive mastermind, Sean McVay, entered the fold.
No one was talking about how Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals would lead the league in sacks.
Or how about how former USC standout, Nelson Aghlor, increasing his production from 365 yards and two scores his rookie year to over 700 yards and eight touchdowns his sophomore campaign.
All this is being said to demonstrate that the most productive players turnover every year in the NFL. One of the hardest things to do is to consistently produce in a league that’s only consistency is that it’s consistently turning over. No one expects Kevin White, Bears’ organization or other, to produce anything this season. With a revamped offense that holds many weapons around him, other teams won’t game plan too heavily for him. This could, in turn, translate to more opportunities for the talented receiver.
With a fresh start in a new offense, Kevin White has as much of a chance to get game-action as any other player. White has been adamant about his determination to come back stronger than before, with Ian Rapoport posting a photo of White on vacation that we’ve all seen by now:
While he looks like his body may be able to finally withstand that wear and tear of an NFL season, there are other questions about his route running and potential chemistry with second-year quarterback, Mitch Trubisky.
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Coach Nagy was asked questions regarding White and his development and had this to say:
“He’s somebody you’ll see after practice stay and get those extra reps. If it’s a route he didn’t have the correct footwork on, maybe he was two steps off on a seven-step route and took five steps, so he’s going to go back out there and do it with seven steps the right way… He’s dedicated. He’s committed. He wants to be a really good wide receiver”.
Imagine this if White were to stay healthy:
A shotgun set where Trubisky is standing ready for the snap and he looks to his left and sees Allen Robinson lining up against a press. To his right, is Taylor Gabriel running the slot, Trey Burton in the flex, and all the way out to the right has the potential to be 6’3, 4.35 forty-running, isolated, Kevin White. Matchup. Nightmare.
Trubisky has already expressed his excitement to see what White can do this season when the two worked out together in California this offseason. Trubisky stated that White had been “busting his tail to do really big things” all offseason.
Trubisky and White have a strong communication with each other and new head coach Matt Nagy. “He wants to be coached…He wants me to communicate with him every play- what I see, what he sees. And we’re talking on the field and off the field about what we can do to get better”, Trubisky said as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Kevin White knows that this season could very well be his last to showcase his football talents while wearing an NFL uniform. No one expects anything from him or that he’ll even be a factor on the Bears roster.
Much like the aforementioned Nelson Aghlor of the Eagles, he was pushed to produce following his disappointing rookie season. When the staff brought in Alshon Jefferey and Torrey Smith and then proceeded to take two receivers in that 2017 draft, Aghlor knew it was time to buckle down and show why he belongs.
Kevin White will have to do the same in this last year with the Bears as other talent has been brought in to oust him. He has a healthy body, an innumerable of incentives, and all the intangibles of a No. 1 receiver.
Will Kevin White cower and reside in the shadow or be the 2018 dark horse we know he can be?