Today was the deadline for NFL teams to make a decision on players that were placed on the regular season physically unable to perform (PUP) list, or as Bears' fans have dubbed it, "Kevin White Day."
Per the Chicago Tribune's Rich Campbell, the Chicago Bears have decided to allow 1st round draft pick Kevin White to practice with the team. The Bears now have a 21 day window to either activate him to the 53 man roster or to place him on season ending injured reserve.
While White practices these next 21 days, he'll have a chance to acclimate to the professional aspects of his job. But don't expect White to be out there running in full speed 11-on-11s with his teammates. The Bears will ease him in slowly and the training staff will closely monitor his progress.
White was the 7th overall selection this year's NFL Draft, but he's only worked out a handful of times with the Bears this offseason. A "minor" shin injury during OTAs kept him out until a setback led the Bears to discovering a stress fracture in his shin.
He had surgery in August and doctors inserted a rod into his shin. Just last month White said that he was "a long way off," and that he was looking towards 2016 for a possible return date.
In case you need a reminder on the kind of player White is, last season at West Virginia in 13 games, he put up 109 receptions for 1,447 yards (13.3 ypc) and 10 touchdowns.
Here's how he compared with other wide outs at the 2015 NFL Combine.
And here's a highlight reel of White's Senior year.
And here's a portion of his scouting report from his NFL.com combine page.
STRENGTHS Has desired NFL frame for the position. Goes and gets the ball with consistency. Had issues with drops in 2013 after transferring in from JUCO, but caught everything in sight in 2014. High points the ball. Asked to run more types of routes in 2014 and delivered with increased productivity. Terrific inside release to beat press coverage. Creates separation on crossers and can stop on a dime on hitch routes. Makes defenders work to get him down after the catch. Competes when the ball is in the air. Looks to turn upfield immediately after short catch, running with desire and some power.
WEAKNESSES Pigeon-toed and runs heel to toe. Allowed to play in space and must learn to get off line of scrimmage against press coverage. Must answer questions abound about his top-end speed. Wall-off blocker who could use more work in that area. Average wiggle after the catch and relies on effort over suddenness to pick up yards after catch.
DRAFT PROJECTION Round 1 (top 10)
NFL COMPARISON DeAndre Hopkins
BOTTOM LINE He's not just a product of West Virginia's system -- he's talented. White showed off 23 reps on the bench press and a blazing 4.35 40 at the combine, proving he has the top-end speed to go with the size and strength. White came into West Virginia with very limited confidence, according to team insiders, but when he left, he had realized his rare talent. White lacks the polish of Amari Cooper, but some teams already believe he has the best upside of any wide receiver in this draft.
What are your thoughts on the eventual return of Kevin White?