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Posts Tagged ‘Pat White’

Pat White’s NFL Future Is At Receiver Not Quarterback

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Pat White conducted his pro day recently and did not do any wide receiver or punt return work.  I am tired of seeing him throw the ball.  I am not high on the former West Virginia quarterback’s ability to be an NFL quarterback.  First, White has the build of a small slot receiver.  He measured in at the Combine at 6 feet tall and 197 pounds.  The All Big-East quarterback has a small frame and will not be able to stand in the pocket and take shots.  One of the reasons Ben Roethlisberger is such a terrific quarterback is his ability to hold the ball until the last second.  His big 6 foot 5 and 240 pound frame enables him to do this.  Second, White has a fairly long delivery and does not get rid of the ball that quickly.  Third, he played in West Virginia’s  run-oriented spread offense and had simple reads.  It will be a major transition for Pat White to run an NFL offense with much harder reads.

I would prefer to draft a quarterback like, Hunter Cantwell, over White if the former Mountaineer is not going to catch passes and return punts.  Cantwell fits the bill as a potential solid NFL backup quarterback more than White does.  I love Pat White’s quickness and open field running ability.  That is how he became the NCAA’s all-time leader in rushing yards by a quarterback.  There are so many questions that are unanswered about him at this point.  Can he catch the ball naturally or does he have bricks for hands?  Can he run routes with some explosion coming out of his breaks?  Can he catch punts cleanly and head up field aggressively?  These are all different skill-sets that you cannot assume he can do even though he is an exceptional athlete.

I think Pat White may be overestimating how much the “Wildcat” formation is going to be used in the coming years.  I am a bit of a football traditionalist and do not believe the “Wildcat” is anything more than a gimmick.  It serves a purpose if you are not really set at quarterback.  Miami started the “Wildcat” last season when they were struggling to score points and Chad Pennington was still fairly new to the offense.  It is not like the NFL has not seen its share of tremendous athletes at quarterback over the years (remember Kordell Stewart, Michael Vick and Vince Young).  The prototype remains a quarterback like Tom Brady or Warren Moon that can stand in the pocket and deliver strikes to their skill position players.

I would draft Pat White in the 5th round if he stays stubborn and only works out for teams as a quarterback.  The comparisons to Antwaan Randle El are inevitable.  Pittsburgh made Randle El a 2nd round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft.  It is important to remember that the former Indiana University quarterback did catch a handful of passes in college and devoted himself to receiver and punt returner during the Senior Bowl where he impressed.  White would be a major reach in the 2nd round at this point.

Pat White Is Making A Mistake Playing Quarterback Exclusively At The Senior Bowl

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Pat White is a great athlete and had a terrific career playing quarterback at West Virginia.  However, his body build is that of an undersized point guard in basketball and certainly not that of an NFL quarterback.  A quarterback at the professional level has to be able to stand in the pocket with his eyes focused down field (not at the oncoming rush) and deliver the ball while taking a big hit in a defenseless position.  If Pat White did this on a consistent basis, his team’s training staff would be picking his body off the field in parts.
There is no way I can see his slight build withstanding the punishment a quarterback takes from defenders who outweigh him by 50 to 100 pounds.

The only position White can play long-term in the NFL is wide receiver.  He has the speed, quickness and open field running ability to be a playmaker as a slot receiver.  You have to be able to catch the ball, run routes and have the toughness to run over the middle to make this happen.  I would have liked to see him answer some of these questions by playing wide receiver at the Senior Bowl.

There is a lot of speculation that Pat White could be a “wildcat” quarterback in the NFL with a package designed for him.  The theory being that White can throw the ball better than a running back and give the “wildcat” a better pass option.  This is true, but people forget that the NFL has already seen the ultimate run/pass option at quarterback and his name was Michael Vick.  Atlanta is so much better off with Matt Ryan at quarterback than it ever was with Vick.  This is because Ryan goes through his progressions in the pocket, makes good decisions and delivers the ball accurately to highly skilled wide receivers and tight ends.  That is what you want from your quarterback.  Vick was never able to refine his passing skills to make that the foundation of his game.

I believe the “wildcat” is a gimmick and is not an increasing part of future NFL offenses.  NFL teams a hundred years from now will still want from the quarterback position what Johnny Unites provided to the Colts in the 1950’s.  The athletes playing on defense in the NFL are too big and fast to expose a gifted passer to unnecessary punishment.  If you have a quarterback who can zip slants and throw fades with a feathery touch then why would you want to bring in a “wildcat” formation in the red zone?

An athlete like Pat White will serve an NFL team best as a wide receiver.  That is the position where he could play the most snaps.  The sooner it is determined that he can play wide receiver the better in my opinion.  If White is drafted by a team that is not completely set at quarterback and the coaching staff believes a “wildcat” package can give their offense a boost, then White certainly is a prime candidate to play quarterback on a limited basis with wide receiver being his primary position.  I believe Pat White would have improved his draft stock if he had played wide receiver at the Senior Bowl like Matt Jones did in 2005.  It is doubtful that his stock would have soared as much as Jones’ did (the Jags would like a do-over on spending a 1st round pick on him), but you can justify a 2nd or 3rd round selection on White if he can play wide receiver.