NFL Draft expert Mike Mayock’s pre-NFL Combine conference calls are loaded with delicious tidbits on the qualities and expectations of where draft-eligible prospects stand. The most-talked about position outside of quarterback headed into the NFL Combine this week is at wide receiver where WVU’s Kevin White could be one of the first taken.
In Mayock’s look at the top-5 prospects at each position released last week, he had WVU’s Kevin White ranked ahead of Alabama’s Amari Cooper. Headed into last season, Cooper was considered the top prospect, while White was barely a blip on the draft radar. After an explosive first seven games to the season, White shot up all early draft boards with his NFL size, pass-catching, his ability to fight off defenders to get open and make catches and then how he fights with defenders to get more yards after the catch.
“I’ve got Kevin White above him because he has a higher ceiling,” said Mayock. “I think his potential is greater.”
But if you look at many mock-drafts published thus far, you will see Cooper, not White, as the popular pick to be the first receiver off the board. Why?
Of the two, Cooper is likely the most-ready to come in and make a splash right away. He’s a safe, and good, pick. The first receiver off the board could come as high as No. 4 to Oakland where they would love to pair a good, young receiver with Derek Carr. The Raiders’ brass wants to give their fledgling offense a kick-start right away. At this point, Cooper is considered to be the prospect who can deliver on that, sooner rather than later.
What makes White so intriguing is that he is still learning. During the two seasons White played at WVU, he wasn’t asked to run a large variety of routes in his first season, but Holgorsen and Co. opened things up for White during his senior campaign. With more ways to get open, White excelled, catching nearly everything thrown his way.
If White can show everyone he is just as NFL-ready as Cooper over the course the next week and a few months leading up to the NFL Draft at the end of April, he could be the first Mountaineer to don a Raiders jersey since James Jett in 2002.
If White continues to follow the same growth curve into the NFL, the sky–and the endzone–is the limit.
The NFL Combine convenes in Indianapolis this week. Later, we’ll let you know when and where you can watch White along with teammates Mario Alford and Mark Glowinski perform for NFL scouts, coaches and GM’s.