Devin White is one of the better defenders in the 2019 Draft, and he has a high ceiling, but how successful will he actually be?
Weight: 240 lbs.
- The greatest strength in White’s game is his athletic ability. He covers the field from sideline-to-sideline and can explode through the line and make plays in the backfield. He can make a play anywhere on the field.
- White’s size fits the mold of a prototypical ‘Mike’ linebacker in the NFL. He’s big enough to clog up holes in the run game on the inside as a 4-3 mike linebacker if a team who runs that scheme decides to draft him.
- Arguably White’s best asset is his speed. As an elite running back in high school, White was able to translate his speed to the defensive side of the ball, chasing down running backs, and allowing him to be reliable in coverage, which is highly valued in today’s pass happy NFL.
- The development of White has to be included here as well. White has turned himself into an all-around linebacker with an insane upside. White could be an instant starter on any team who picks him up. He’s projected to go in the middle of the first round, but if it wasn’t for the elite edge rushers and interior lineman in this draft, White would the best defender in his class, and a potential top pick.
- I’m being nit-picky, because White doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, but he does have some room to improve his coverage ability. He tends to get lackadaisical at times, losing underneath routes, but that can easily be improved.
- White’s instincts will need to be honed as well. His athletic ability has made up for missteps and missed reads at times, but the NFL is a different animal, and tiny mistakes could prove costly.
- Another slight fault in White’s game is also his best asset. Sometimes Devin White is too fast. He overruns ball carriers, and doesn’t fully come to balance at times when making tackles. Like his coverage skills, his tackling can be easily improved..
Pro Comparison: Ray Lewis
This is a high honor to bestow on a linebacker prospect, but Devin White and the best linebacker of all-time are almost identical in size (Lewis was also 6’1″ and 240 lbs.) and versatility.
Lewis was known for his tackling and the power he put into his tackles, as well as his ability to drop back into coverage and slow down the passing game.
From all accounts, White’s ceiling is already high, and in a few years, we could be mentioning him as an All-Pro regular.
Draft Projection: Early 1st Round
Barring an unexpected drop, Devin White will be selected within the top 15 picks. I believe the Bengals will take him with the 11th pick.
A team that gave up the most points this season, the Bengals need an elite player at the linebacker position.
White could have the same impact for the Bengals that NFL DROY Darius Leonard had for the Colts.