From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections, and priority undrafted free agents. Today we’ll be profiling Georgia Tech Defensive End Keion White.
#6 KEION WHITE, DEFENSIVE END, GEORGIA TECH (6SR.) 6046, 280 LBS.
Combine Invite: Yes
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Keion White||6’4 / 280||10 5/8||33 5/8||79 3/4|
|40 Yard Dash||10 Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Thick-built frame with good weight and size throughout body
— Natural power to overwhelm blocker at the line of scrimmage and collapse the pocket
— Moments of impressive leverage works well to take away blocker’s base
— Quality bend around the edge to keep momentum through blocks
— Nice burst, moves laterally and straight-line with good speed
— Noticeable strength and tackling ability, makes plays out of frame
— Versatility to work both inside and out, on-ball and off
— High-effort player active in getting to the football or putting in second-effort to get to the quarterback
— Nice instincts to disrupt pass or block QB vision
— Listed on The Athletic‘s College Football Freaks List 2022 expected to blow up at the combine
— Upside player with the potential to be a high-impact defender
— Hand fighting lacks polish leading to issues disengaging from blocks
— Inconsistent base and footwork, winds up on the ground too often
— Leverage varies from snap to snap
— Struggles to anchor down in run-defense
— Moments on tape he was clearly outmatched, Clemson’s McFadden controlled him all game
— Lacks a variety of moves, struggles to win with technique
— May not have the finesse to operate as a stand-up pass-rusher
— Lacks twitch to close on plays in nearby areas
— Already 24 and still raw, could offer less appeal than younger options in the class
— Sixth-year senior out of Garner, North Carolina
— 24 years old, Birthday is January 20, 1999
— Committed to Old Dominion where he played for four seasons before transferring to Georgia Tech
— Spent first two years of his college career as a tight end, started 8 games as a sophomore at the position
— Rated as a two-star recruit and ranked 86th highest recruit in North Carolina by 247 Sports
— Suffered an ankle injury that led to him missing first eight games of 2021 season.
— Majored in building construction & facility management.
As we dive into the tape we start out in the season opener as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets face off against the Clemson Tigers. Keion White (DE #6) starts off on the very first play going against fellow draft prospect Jordan McFadden (LT #71). White shows an issue of positioning himself with a wide base. Despite Keion White’s natural strength, he narrows his feet and easily gets taken out of his lane by McFadden. Luckily the second wave was able to come up and limit the gain, but plays like this for someone of White’s frame is who you’d expect to be setting the edge and containing these runs, rather than potentially being a liability.
Later on in the game, White’s run defense is once again brought into question. Clemson was able to drive down the field and put themselves in position on this 3rd & Goal. While White is the first to fire out of his stance, he gets completely taken out of the play and pushed back to where his linebackers were before the snap. While he ended up having to take on a double team, with his jump at the snap you’d want him to at least make some impact breaking into the backfield. Had it not been for Uiagalelei stumbling, it likely results in a touchdown for the Tigers.
White’s flashes are the reason the attention has started coming his way though. First play of the second half, White is able to work across multiple lanes while taking on a block from the right tackle and make a stop on the football. When White is able to work laterally, he shows quality movement skills and him staying balanced when he is working laterally rather than taking the block head-on shows the type of base strength he has when he is positioned properly in his feet.
At 6’5 280 pounds, White is expected to run in the 4.75 range at the combine. That is quite impressive for someone of that stature and when he gets to moving well, you can see those flashes. Here he is able to burst enough outside of the right tackles natural reach, and while he got a hand on White, there was no stopping the freight train. This pressure was able to force a throw away and get the drive to fourth down.
That movement skill that White flashes isn’t just straight line speed either. Here on third down after offsetting the right guard with an incredible long arm shove, White is able to spin and cut off the lane in which Uiagalelei was hoping to scramble through. Uiagalelei was able to dump off the pass to the runningback, but as far as the flashes from Keion White go, this play is phenomenal.
The lateral mobility is once again on display for White early in the fourth quarter on these next to plays as even when he loses his balance, he’s able to recover and cross over multiple lanes on the line of scrimmage in the first play to make a tackle on the football and limit the yardage picked up. In the second play he’s able to get turned around after shaking his blocker, and make the tackle as well. This kind of dependability if it can be unlocked as a more consistent part of White’s game makes him an extremely valuable defensive end dependable of covering for his teammates with great plays like this.
Onto Week 2, we analyze Keion White’s lone sack of the day. In this rep it showcases the sheer overwhelming strength he has when he uses his leverage to his advantage. Despite his size, White does have impressive moments of getting low and when he is able to shove his blocker from underneath, it takes them off of their base and limits their options against a powerful bull-rusher like White. There are plays you can post for any prospect and talk about what could be if it happened on a more-routine basis. However, White had these flashes all throughout the year, and truly has a size/athleticism combination that many do not offer.
Now we move to Week 3 as the Yellow Jackets host the Ole Miss Rebels. In the play below Keion White is the defensive lineman on the right side in the B gap. While he is able to make some movement into the backfield, White is left one on one with the right tackle, and is even able to turn the block to where he has a path at the quarterback. His failure to disengage however allows for a clean throw by Jaxon Dart. White has plenty of natural strength and potential, but until he is able to disengage consistently from blockers as a pass-rusher he will struggle to contribute at the NFL level.
Later on in the game, we have another moment of headache from White as a pass-rusher. After being sure the running back didn’t get the football, White seems to shake his blocker with no issue. However, the burst just isn’t there and Dart is able to evade him pretty easily. While it’s easy to excuse, the angle and overall twitchiness is concerning on this play, especially for someone who is expected to be selling themselves for their athletic upside and displays of that on tape.
However, those flashes do happen enough for teams to still be very excited about what White could be molded into. Jumping forward to the Yellow Jackets 8th game of the season, here is a play against Florida State where White hesitates before powering into the right tackle. Even in this situation where he is way too far over his feet, he gets tremendous power generated and breaks into the backfield. You’d love to see him bring down the QB and finish the sack, but Jordan Travis made a great recovery. Still, with White more polished in his attack, results of him overwhelming blockers and breaking into the backfield should become a more regular occurrence.
The last game we’ll take a look at is the Yellow Jackets November 19th match up against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Keion White in the play below is on the right side and does a nice job of taking his blocker back, and shutting down Drake Maye’s attempt to break out a scramble. White does a nice job of working his momentum and keeping balanced while engaged in containment, and this is an excellent example of that ability in action.
I was a bit critical of White’s lack of closing speed against Ole Miss, but here in the second quarter he shows his ability when its working to his favor. After redirecting himself to take away the outside, he flies at Maye and takes away any opportunity for him to make a play. While the inconsistency can be frustrating in evaluation, NFL coaches will bet on themselves to unlock the ability to make the positives more routine in White’s performances.
Then late in the second quarter as North Carolina is trying to get down the field with limited time remaining in the half, White shows impressive motors continuing to attack off the edge and eventually spinning around Asim Richards (UNC LT #72) to get to Drake Maye and make the sack. While White doesn’t have a ton of moves in his pass rushing toolbox at this point in his career, he does have a nice spin move and when he develops a working ability to operate with Plan B, he should be even more effective off of the edge.
For the final play, we see White working in more of an interior lineman look at 3T on the right side, and he’s able to outmuscle both blockers as he eventually finds his way through the crease and records the sacks. White turned in a monster performance near the end of the season that certainly will spark excitement for his development. The ability to win both when working in 4-3 and 3-4 looks has to be exciting for teams especially if they operate with multiple fronts often.
Keion White is a common Jekyl & Hyde prospect that has plenty of reasons to buy-in and opt-out for his success at the next level. Overall, I think there is enough high quality play that given a proper defensive coach, he should be able to reach a higher level of consistency and become a quality contributor in the NFL. While he has an impressive blend for size to athleticism, I do think the overall ceiling may not be as high as touted, so I expect his draft range not to reach that of a Travon Walker like some in draft media have pitched.
There will be consideration for White in the first round, and as much as I hate to cast a net this wide, there’s truly believable outcomes to where he goes anywhere as high as the mid-first all to the way to the mid-third round.
With plenty of attention pointed towards him at the combine, how he tests will have major implications on where he should likely hear his name called come April. For the Steelers specifically, there is a possibility for interest should White be there on Day 2 to pair with Leal for the future of the defensive line with a chance for him to contribute as a stand up rusher if there are any injuries.
Projection: Mid-Day One – Mid Day 2
Depot Draft Grade: 7.7 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)
Games Watched: vs Clemson (2022), vs Western Carolina (2022), vs Ole Miss (2022), vs Florida State (2022), vs North Carolina (2022)