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.