Capturing the number one spot on our countdown (much like he did being drafted as a first-round pick), Kevin White is most definitely a reason for every Bears fan to give a damn in 2015.
The first rounder brings something to the Bears’ offense that it has been lacking since 2011…
White’s 4.35-40 time makes him the quickest true-receiver in Chicago since Johnny Knox (whose time was 4.34). Heck, he’s even sporting the same number. You can attempt to make the argument that Hester was a speedster wideout… but despite a few bright moments, Hester never amounted to much at the position.
Although the team deployed two highly talented receivers in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery the past few seasons, last year defenses figured out that they could sit back in coverage, because neither receiver possessed the speed to get behind it.
Surely, Ryan Pace was aware of this issue as he resolved it with his inaugural pick as GM.
Which brings us back to White…
His speed creates a new dynamic for Jay and the Bears’ offense in 2015, giving Cutler the deep threat that he desperately needs. Every year since 2011, Cutler’s yards gained per completion has steadily dropped from 12.7 Y/C to 10.3.
White will (hopefully) turn that trend around. In his two years at West Virginia, he averaged 13.6 yards per reception. He has the speed to create separation and I’ve heard only good things about his release to beat press coverage.
This allows White to not only be a one trick pony.
Instead of only being a deep threat, White is able to make big plays out of simple slants and screens as he can outrun a majority of the players on the field; furthermore, he runs with intensity and determination after he catches the football.
Size and Athleticism
Another enticing component that White brings along with his speed is his big frame.
He has the will to fight for the ball in the air, attacking the ball at its’ highest point. At 6’3, White’s height gives him an added advantage against opposing defenses.
This is extremely important.
By lining up opposite of Alshon Jeffery, White will have plenty of chances in single coverage to do just that.
What makes White “extra special” is his strength.
He tied as the top receiver in the bench press at the combine with 23 reps. This muscle will assist White in making the big plays the Bears’ offense needs. With his strength, White can break press coverage with a good punch off the line of scrimmage to the opposing corner.
This combination of size, strength, and athleticism, along with his quick feet, make him a potentially dangerous target this season.
Humbleness and Determination
When White first arrived to Chicago, something that stood out is his humbleness.
After he was drafted, in an interview with Chris Wesseling, White said,
Whatever I have to do to help the team, whether it’s blocking, catching passes downfield, setting up plays for my teammates. I never went to my coaches and quarterbacks and (demanded), ‘throw me the ball.’ I’m willing to do whatever it takes. … I love this. I love this. It’s a dream come true.”
Just hearing that he is willing to accept his role on the team and assist in anyway he can is compelling.
Don’t forget, this kid went through a lot of adversity throughout his collegiate career. He started at at Lackawanna College in 2012, and his willpower drove him all the way to being a top ten draft pick.
Even Coach Fox has been impressed by his new receiver,
He’s very aggressive. He does all parts of his job. I think he’s an outstanding blocker and then on top of that he just has what I kind of call ‘it.’ He’s infectious.”
Let’s all hope that Fox was right and White’s vitality jumpstarts the Bears offense.
If he keeps the same balance of humbleness and determination, the sky is the limit.
I’m confident that I’m not the only Bears fan who is yearning for some big plays on Sundays out of the rookie.
It’s enticing to see how newly acquired offensive coordinator Adam Gase can incorporate White into the offense as there are a plethora of ways that Gase can utilize White’s unique skill set.
It all begins tomorrow as the Bears have their first practice of training camp. This is the first chance Bears fans can see what type of player White will be.
So, can Kevin White make the Pro Bowl as a rookie? Could he possibly break some rookie-season records?
He has the potential… But will he? That’s what Bears fans are about to find out.
Having the opportunity to watch Kevin White possibly blossom into a star is surely the biggest reason to give a damn in 2015.
In Case You Missed It
Reason #1: Kevin White’s Vitality to Jumpstart Bears Offense
Reason #2: Restoration of Leadership (and the Captain Patch)
Reason #3: New Bears to Help Create New Identity
Reason #4: Players Poised to Perform in Contract Years
Reason #5: The New Coaching Staff of Fox, Gase, and Fangio
Reason #6: Continuing Along the “Cutler Coaster”
Reason #7: Top Three Draftees (Not Named Kevin White)
Reason #8: So Many Questions (Creates a Little Bit of Drama)
Reason #9: New Video Boards and New Lounge to Improve Fan Experience
Reason #10: (Finally) Moving on Past Lovie Smith