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NFL Draft: Player Profile - Pat White, QB, Virginia
John Tuvey
March 5, 2009
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Pat White, VirginiaMeasurables:
Combine height: 6-0 1/4
Combine weight: 197 pounds
Combine 40 time: 4.49 seconds

Stats:
White was a true double-threat, completing 65.7 percent of his passes for 1,842 yards and 21 touchdowns against seven interceptions as a senior with 1,109 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. For his career, White completed 64.8 percent of his passes and threw for 6,049 yards, with 56 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He also rushed for 4,842 yards (posting four 1,000-yard seasons) and 47 touchdowns after taking over as the Mountaineers’ starter midway through his freshman campaign.

Skill Set:
There’s no question White is a superior athlete. As a quarterback he would have the mobility to avoid a rush and make plays with his feet; moreover, while he has flashed a propensity to tuck and run sooner than some scouts would like he also has demonstrated a Ben Roethlisberger-like ability to keep his eyes downfield while scrambling and make a late throw if there’s an opening. He threw the ball as well as any other quarterback at the Combine (which, given this quarterback class isn’t saying all that much) and has a strong enough arm to make the requisite throws at the NFL level. There’s also little doubt about his leadership ability. As a receiver, his QB knowledge would help him in reading defenses and he has the speed and vision to make plays once he has the ball in his hands.

And while White has shown he’s both an outstanding athlete and a quality football player, he may be a man without a position in the NFL. He’s a little short by NFL standards for a quarterback, and if that’s the position he plays on Sundays he’ll have a ton of work to do on mechanics and fundamentals, having spent his collegiate career in the shotgun/spread formation. If he’s converted to receiver he’ll need to quickly pick up route-running (he said on NFL Network he hasn’t played the position since he was a sophomore in high school, but he will run routes at his pro day), and there’s simply no evidence as to how well he can catch the ball. The bottom line is that he was a playmaker in college and at minimum has the skills to translate that success to the next level—at a position to be determined.

Possible Destinations:
Barring an incredible upset, White isn’t going in the first round. The second round might be a stretch as well, though a team with a definite plan for using him could certainly slide into the bottom of the first day and add him to their roster. The Dolphins need a receiver and run the “Wildcat”, though they do seem to have plenty of quarterbacks at the moment. After that, pretty much any team with a creative offensive coordinator—or at least one who caught the Miami highlights last year and doesn’t want to be left off the “Wildcat” bandwagon—is a candidate. You could probably rule out the Browns (Josh Cribbs), Jets (Brad Smith), and Seahawks (Seneca Wallace), as they already have the “Slash” position filled; every other team is conceivably in the market.

Fantasy Impact:
White has as good an opportunity to make an immediate impact as any quarterback outside of Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez; however, odds are that impact will come situationally and be difficult to predict. Think of how the Dolphins, the league’s most prominent “Wildcat” user, had a different success story every week: Ronnie Brown in Week 3, Patrick Cobbs in Week 6, Ted Ginn in Week 8, etc., etc. White could easily have a game in which he throws a touchdown and catches a touchdown—all you have to do is identify which of the 16 weeks it will be. The most likely scenario for White is something along the Seneca Wallace path, in which White will use his athleticism to contribute as a receiver and perhaps a return man while understudying at the quarterback position. That is also his best-case scenario for providing an immediate fantasy impact; if he goes to a team that looks at him purely as a quarterback, it’s unlikely he sees the team much if at all as a rookie.

Long-term, White has considerable upside—but his team has to make a choice. If he falls into the slash category, he may be stuck as a guy who gives you one or two big games a season but no consistent productivity. If he’s developed as a quarterback, he may be a year or two away but there is definite fantasy upside; think of the eight to ten rushing touchdowns he’d be in line to provide. And if he’s converted to a full-time receiver, there is little question he has the athleticism to be an impact player at the position—once he learns the position. With multiple options, White makes an intriguing dynasty pick—but one that will require patience and close monitoring of the situation.

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