As many of you know, my favorite college football team is Rutgers - which means I've watched a lot of Big East football. And one of those players I've come to absolutely hate watching play (against RU) is West Virginia QB Pat White. But now - call me crazy - I'm going to be pulling for the Dolphins to draft White in next month's NFL Draft.
Alright - let the hecklers come out and give me grief now.
All I ask, though, is that before you all completely bust my butt, please first read all of the following about Mr. White.
Let's begin with what a couple "draft gurus" are saying about White. First up is Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com:
Outstanding athleticism...Good speed and quickness with a burst...Elusive open field runner with great vision who is difficult to tackle...Versatile and can be a weapon on trick plays...Very productive...Has a pretty high football IQ...Also has some potential as a return man...A proven winner and team leader with solid intangibles.
Does not have the size, arm strength or accuracy that you look for in an NFL signal caller and will most likely have to make a position change...Is he open to a move???...Has a slight frame...Durability is a big concern...Has had some issues with ball security...Extremely raw as a route runner and pass catcher...Limited experience in a pro-style offensive system... Will he be tempted to pursue a pro baseball career
Here's what Robert Davis of FootballsFuture.com says about White:
White is a fantastic athlete that is very dangerous with the ball in his hands. He is elusive in the open field, and has the speed to run away from defenders when being chased. His talents are suited for the receiver position moreso than the QB spot he plays in college. His frame and athleticism are ideal for WR, and he has shown that he is electric as a ball carrier.
Changing positions at the NFL level is very difficult. College starts at the WR position find it difficult to adjust to the talent in the league, so a college start at QB trying to make it at WR is even more difficult. White has the natural talent and running instincts, but he has a long battle ahead of him to develop into a weapon as a receiver.
So those reports are all well and good. But let's be honest - even these so called "draft experts" can't watch every snap of every game that Pat White has played in at West Virginia. And that's why the guys at The Smoking Musket, SBN's West Virginia blog, should share their perspective on White. Here's what those guys said about White:
You're going to see a lot of scouting reports between the combine and the draft talking about Pat White being a "winner." It's a true statement, but somewhat disingenuous the way it's used by these scouts. The label "winner" is almost always preceded or followed by a long diatribe on why White won't succeed at the professional level as a QB. Then, under positives, we get "winner," like that's supposed to negate everything the scout just wrote. Well, as a Mountaineer fan, I'm here to tell you that Pat White is a winner, and in my mind, will continue as exactly that, regardless of position.
White went to the combine expected to feign skill at QB and then quickly start his transformation to wide receiver. Well, a funny thing happened, as White completely outshone every other signal-caller in Indianapolis. Of course, with his lack of skills and arm strength, there was no way White was going to be able to compete with the big, bad Mark Sanchez's of the world. But there he was, throwing deep outs with laser-like accuracy while Sanchez and Co. struggled. Sure, maybe in hindsight, it was foolish to doubt the only QB in NCAA to history to win four bowl games (two of which were of the BCS variety). But, don't worry, White's seen it before. And he'll continue to see it, up until the point where an NFL team gives him a shot at quarterback. Sure, he might not make it as a starter in this league -- few do. But he deserves that shot. Expect that last point to be further driven home during White's pro-day at WVU. And if it doesn't happen for White, he'll make that move to WR. Then, at that point, I fully expect him to succeed there. I guess I could doubt him, but four years at WVU have taught me not to.
Why Pat White?
Let's get down to it. Why am I making a case for Pat White? After all, many "experts" don't think he can be anything special in the NFL. But they're wrong.
I think the fact that White is 4-0 in Bowl games - the only QB in NCAA history to ever accomplish that feat - says a lot about the kind of player White is. As a freshman, White lead WVU over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl - a game few thought West Virginia could win. But his final 2 Bowl performances are the ones that really stand out to me. As a junior, he threw for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for 150 more yards en route to a 20 point win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Then this past season, in his final college game, White completed 26 of 32 passes for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns in a one-point victory over North Carolina.
But what can he do as a professional? Simple. Pat White is the ideal 'Wildcat' quarterback. He could literally change the way defenses prepare for the Dolphins like no other player ever could. He's a guy who the Dolphins could draft as high as 56th overall and use in a variety of ways. He'd be a return man. He could play a little wide receiver if asked to. And he could take 10 to 15 snaps a game out of the Wildcat - and could really change this offense.
We know the Dolphins would love to add "playmakers" on offense. White represents exactly what a playmaker should be. He's electricfying with the ball in his hands. And he'd be able to run the Wildcat offense better than anyone has ever seen - forcing defenses to figure out exactly how to defend White. Will he throw it? Will he keep it and turn it upfield? Will he hand it off to Ronnie Brown, who is motioning from left to right? Could you just imagine...
And his value would go beyond the Wildcat. Even with White split out wide, teams would have to take into account his ability to throw the football. And like I said, he would also be a candidate to handle kickoff and punt returns.
Some of you probably think I'm crazy - and that's fine. Some might think I'm nuts if I want the Dolphins to waste their late 2nd round pick on a "gimmick" quarterback. Maybe I am. But White is probably going to get drafted in rounds 2 or 3. His stock has risen sharply since January. It began with his Bowl game performance, continued with his Senior Bowl week performance, and reached a crescendo at the Combine - when White, without a doubt, was the most impressive thrower of the football in Indianapolis (yes - even better than Mark Sanchez).
So, please, consider everything you've read above. Look at his career numbers at West Virginia below. Watch the video I've included of White. And then try to tell me that the idea of adding Pat White to the Miami Dolphins doesn't intrigue you at least a little.
White would add something dynamic to this offense that would be impossible to duplicate. And, to me, he'd definitely be worth the 56th overall pick in April's NFL Draft.
Pat White, By the Numbers
Height: 6'0 1/4"
Weight: 197 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.55 sec