Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White has been a non-factor in the NFL his first two years in the league. The former top 10 pick has only played in four regular season games, totaling just 19 catches for 187 yards.
White, who has been running full speed and was 100% participation at Bears OTAs/minicamp, enters a very crucial year in his professional career. Injuries happen and there is nothing you can do about it. But, White has said it’s “go time” and he must live up to the hype coming out of West Virginia.
In his four games last season, White showed a small sample size of what he can become, a potential No. 1 receiver. Even with a limited route tree, White can be productive with the routes he runs well.
Let’s take a look at what routes White has to be perfect at to be a legitimate threat in the Bears offense.
White had a lot of success and a reason he was a top ten draft pick was his down field ability. In his last year at West Virginia, White caught 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 TDs. His 4.3 speed created a lot of opportunities down the field and was arguably the best deep ball receiver at the college level in 2014.
In his four games last season, White only caught one pass over 20 yards. But Bears hopeful starting QB Mike Glennon has a solid arm, and him and White can become a solid duo right away. His aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage and his 4.3 speed will create matchup problems. Glennon has praised White earlier this year and by working more throughout the offseason, hopefully the two make big plays on Sunday’s.
One of the most basic routes in the NFL can be one of the most deadly. Take Odell Beckham Jr. for example. With his quickness off the snap and speed in the open field, OBJ turned a simple slant route into a touchdown. Here it is from Week 14 vs. Cowboys:
Now, lets be clear, White is no Beckham Jr. but both players possess similar tools. Both players have breakaway speed and size.
White has the potential and the speed to do just what Beckham Jr. did vs. Dallas and many other teams last season. And a very simple route like the slant can be easily mastered, especially with White’s skillset.
White can create breakouts plays, like OBJ, with being 100% healthy and his speed. If he can get off jams by opposing CBs and run crisp routes, the slant could be a hard one to stop for opposing cornerbacks going up against White this season.
The bubble screen, used in the trending RPO ( Run-pass option) offense that many teams have implemented into their offense, scream White. An image drawn up by ESPN analyst Matt Bowen shows an RPO triple option ran by the Seahawks in 2014.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson can keep the ball, hand it off to Marshawn Lynch or throw the bubble screen to the WR Doug Baldwin. By throwing the bubble, its puts a fast receiver in Baldwin in space. And if his teammates block on the edge, he moves the chains.
White ran bubble a few times in his short 2016 season and his speed makes it very difficult for the defense to tackle him. Let White catch the ball in space and make guys miss.
It’s go time for White. He has the tools to be a very productive WR. These three routes will be a staple to his game and by mastering these, White could turn into a top target for whoever is at QB for the Bears this season.