Quarterback Mike White from Western Kentucky has the scouts buzzing down in Mobile, Alabama. The 6’4”, 225 pound redshirt senior has NFL size and traits, but scouts want to know if he has the mental capacity to succeed at the next level.
White has shown the ability to be effective with half-field reads, at least.
He is given a simple curl/flat combination into the boundary. All White needs to determine is who is covering the flats. Post-snap, the linebacker screams to the flats and White quickly hits the wide receiver in the hook-to-curl area.
The quick game is one of his strengths because he is able to diagnose the defense rather well pre-snap. Here, WKU is in an empty set, and Old Dominion’s defense is in a two-high set. The corner is in off coverage and will not be able to cover the quick out route from the slot receiver. Easy pitch and catch for the offense. It was these kinds of plays that led White to have a 75% adjusted completion percentage, per Pro Football Focus, which was 14th in the country.
Western Kentucky didn’t boast one of the top offensive line units in the country, so having a strong quick game was necessary. White’s ability to read half of the field sets up well as a backup in the NFL, especially in the red zone.
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) January 24, 2018
Quick diagnosis on this smash concept with the slot receiver running the corner route. As the corner squats, White is able to throw up over him, but he leads the receiver flat to keep it away from the safety. Couldn’t have been thrown any better.
He was absolutely money running this concept versus the two-high looks of ODU.
White was under pressure 30.5% of the snaps and he surrendered 39 sacks on those dropbacks.
He was consistently under pressure, which got to his head. His pocket presence was very poor at times, as he showed the tendency to bail from a clean pocket when it wasn’t needed.
White’s arm strength is worrisome. On film, I saw a lot of near hash throws and short passes to the middle of the field. This does have value at the next level, just not as a starter.
He was rarely seen driving the ball deep outside, and in the NFL that can make things very easy on defenses.
On this pass, White has the ball on the left hash and is trying to hit the receiver to the far sideline. The receiver is running a deep comeback and White takes his drop, hitches three times to get his momentum going, and is still unable to drive the ball to the intended target. The ball sails and is nowhere near a tight spiral.
As a deep passer, White wasn’t too shabby. Per PFF he registered a 118.1 rating while completing 26 out of 72 passes for 939 yards.
When he is able to see the coverage quickly he has the anticipation needed throw very catchable passes down the field. The safety jumps the slot receiver, so White lofts it up over the top for a touchdown.
These kinds of touch throws in the 15-25 yard range are in his repertoire as long as he doesn’t have to drive them into tight windows.
On this play, White fails to hold the single high safety with his eyes, but he does a fantastic job of anticipating the throw and threading it in to the tight end. Unfortunately, the throw also got his teammate lit up. But that is the type of anticipation a guy with limited arm strength needs to play with.
What is even more astonishing is his 40.3 adjusted completion percentage and 12 touchdowns to only 1 interception.
On this play, White gets a free play due to the defense being in the neutral zone. The receivers are running a Mills concept variation (post & in route). White sees it late, slides to his right, then flashes his side arm delivery and barely gets it to the receiver for the touchdown.
White doesn’t project as a starter in the NFL; his only shot is as a backup. This position does have value. Unless he can improve his ability to read defenses quicker pre- to post-snap and hit receivers outside of his first read or half field route combination, I do not see him playing many games.
One of the few passes on which he went beyond his first route combination against ODU ended poorly. He ends up hitting his own man in the back of the helmet.
The NFL game is so much quicker and the windows are much smaller, so White has an uphill battle ahead of him. But all he has to do is convince one team to take a chance, and that convincing starts this week in Mobile.