From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
Tre’Davious White/CB LSU – 5’11/6 184
– Quick feet, fluid player, and does tremendous job of mirroring release of WRs when playing smart
– Ability to stay in-phase and track the football in man coverage, times his jumps well and has ball skills to break up passes and play pocket of the receiver
– Above average speed, should be able to succeed in man coverage
– Feet creates a quick, smooth transition, able to drive downhill in a hurry
– Uncanny ability to recover when he’s beat and get in-phase
– Versatile, ability to play on the outside or in the slot
– Adequate tackler in the open field
– Has a return background and skillset is evident with ball in his hands on interceptions
– Tons of starting experience against top-flight competition, durable and never missed time
– Underweight and doesn’t have ideal length (31 1/2 inch arms, 75 wingspan)
– Can gamble in press, needs to refine technique, too often jumps the initial step of the receiver’s stem and gets himself out of position
– Not physical enough against the run as a force defender, needs to wrap up and drive through with more intensity
– Hands and punch has to be more physical at the line of scrimmage, jam isn’t always impactful enough
– Interception numbers were only average
– 47 career starts, four-year starter
– 2016 All-American
– Career: 167 tackles 6 INTs 1 FF
– 2016: 35 tackles, 2 INT
– 10.0 punt return average (69 career returns) 3 TDs, one in each of last three seasons
The cornerback class is really deep this year, pushing White’s stock down a bit, but also offering tremendous value.
He has some of the best feet in this cornerback class and fluid hips. Top athlete and no stiffness in his game. When he plays smart and with good technique, he has the ability to mirror the release of pretty much any receiver. Whether that’s outside or, often more difficulty, in the slot, he can handle it. And that’s impressive because the number of corners who are able to is a short list.
In man coverage, White has fantastic tracking ability while remaining in-phase. Bill Belichick separates hands and ball skills. The former is the act of catching the football, interceptions. Ball skills is the ability to break up the ball, play it in the air, and the latter is where he excels. Check out these two examples. The first, a red zone fade.
And more impressively, staying in-phase on this post, timing his swat and launching the football away.
Strong athlete with the speed and technique to thrive in man, footwork/transition ability to do well in zone. Very much the complete package in that regard.
The downsides? I do wish he was a more physical player coming downhill. He’s an adequate tackler in the open field against receivers but in the run game, he gets exposed. This clip is against Derrick Henry, so maybe a little unfair, but the best example of his problems that show up all over his tape.
He’s not awful against the run but at best, he’ll be neutral. Not a strength.
One recurring issue is an apparent gamble he’ll take in press alignment. Too aggressive reading the initial stem of the receiver, or is going off what he sees on film, and he can get himself out of position on the line of scrimmage. I put together these two examples here.
To his credit, White does a tremendous job of being able to locate the receiver and get in-phase. But his press technique needs work if he wants to be consistent there in the NFL. Receiver are magicians. They want to fool you.
We haven’t talked much about White in the first round conversation. I think he fits better on the outside than in the slot because he isn’t super physical against the run but if you value that a little less, or are willing to accept it, he could become a dark horse in Pittsburgh. Given his experience and competition level, White may be able to get on the field quicker than a lot of slot corners. Again, playing in the slot makes it a more difficult transition and you can’t get by just on athleticism like the Steelers did a lot with Artie Burns, but I don’t completely discount it.
If there is a crazy run on EDGE guy and/or the Steelers don’t have someone they like, White could be in that conversation. I wouldn’t hate it. Get talent, get value, you’re doing well.
Projection: Mid-Late Day One
Games Watched: at Mississippi State (2015), at Alabama (2015), at Wisconsin, vs Florida, vs Texas A&M, Senior Bowl