Devin White 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Devin White
BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 22: Devin White #40 of the LSU Tigers reacts during a game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Tiger Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Linebacker
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 237 pounds
School: LSU Tigers

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds (best amongst linebackers)
Bench press: 22 reps
Vertical jump: 39.5 inches (second-best among linebackers)
Broad jump: 9 feet, 10 inches
3-Cone Drill: 7.07 seconds
20-yard Shuttle: 4.17 seconds

Devin White 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Over the past decade, LSU has produced plenty of defensive players that have become stars at the NFL-level. This year will be no different as linebacker Devin White is among the top defenders in this year’s draft class. The Louisiana native was born in Shreveport and grew up friends with LSU teammate Greedy Williams. White eventually went on to a different high school, North Webster, and was a two-way starter for his team. As a running back, White tallied 5,031 rushing yards and 81 rushing touchdowns in his career while recording 192 tackles over a three-year span.

White went on to be ranked as a four-star recruit and was invited to play in the 2015 Under Armour All-American game. However, White was arrested with misdemeanor charges his senior year and eventually was dismissed from the event. That did not hurt his recruitment stock however as the two-way starter eventually committed to LSU on National Signing Day.

As a freshman, White made the switch to linebacker full time as the Tigers were loaded at the running back position. He saw limited action but still finished the year with 30 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack (which was on Lamar Jackson). White went on to earn Freshman All-SEC honors at the end of the season. White had a stellar 2017 season leading the SEC with 10.2 tackles per game and earn second-team all-American honors. He finished the year with 133 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one interception.

White made the switch to inside linebacker and had an equally impressive 2018 season. In 13 games, the linebacker recorded 123 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, six pass deflections, and three forced fumbles. White had a career-high 17 tackles and four tackles for loss in the seven-overtime loss to Texas A&M. White went on to earn First-Team All-American honors, was named Team MVP and won the 2018 Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s best linebacker.

Strengths

  • exceptional closing speed for the position;
  • extremely athletic defender;
  • plays with a very high motor;
  • takes very good pursuit angles;
  • is aggressive in trying to force fumbles;
  • combination of speed and strength allows him to deliver big hits;
  • makes a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage;
  • experienced pass rusher with above average moves;
  • uses speed well to navigate through traffic;
  • has an elite level range that allows him to cover sideline to sideline.

Weaknesses

  • tackles ball carriers too high at times;
  • relies on arm tackles instead of squaring up shoulders and driving his legs;
  • can overrun ball carriers at times;
  • does not read guards/backfield particularly well;
  • still very new to the linebacker position and its reads;
  • gets caught guessing on gap responsibilities at times;
  • struggles to disengage from blocks;

Player Comparison: Patrick Willis

Teams with a need at the Position: Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers

Projection: Top 15 overall

Bottom Line

White is an interesting linebacker prospect because the ceiling for him may be the highest of any linebacker in recent years. However, the floor is fairly low for him despite his one-of-a-kind athleticism. White has only been playing the position full time for three years and sometimes it shows. His elite speed covers up a lot of mistakes but he could benefit immensely with the proper coaching and technique touch-ups.

It may be beneficial for White to play as the WILL linebacker in a 4-3 defense early in his career. However, as he progresses his reads, he could develop into an equally dangerous inside linebacker in a 3-4. This is a very thin draft class at the linebacker position and White may go earlier than his projection based on each team’s priority of the position.

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