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This series of Five Questions With... will focus on not only the 2015 draft class for the Chicago Bears, but some of the undrafted free agents as well. This series of articles has become one of my favorites to do here at Windy City Gridiron, as I feel it gives us an added insight to the new players on the Bears.
Windy City Gridiron - Before the NFL Combine, many scouts were questioning White's top end speed, but then he went out and ripped off a 4.35 forty yard dash to silence the critics. Did White's 4.35 speed translate to the football field?
The Smoking Musket - White's forty time was a big shock, especially with him outrunning fellow WVU star Mario Alford. The more I thought about it, though, the less I was floored by it. He was tremendous at getting separation on deep routes like streaks and posts, and had a few really nice plays on screens this season where he just outran everyone else. So, yeah, the game tape definitely backs up the 40 time. Cutler will enjoy having a giant, football playing bird of prey like Kev to throw to.
WCG - A lot has been made of White almost exclusively playing the right side of West Virginia's offense. Is that more of a scheme thing, or is there some odd reason White never flipped over to the left?
TSM - It's a scheme thing, more or less. Holgo (WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen) likes to really specifically define his receiver positions and keep them where they are. There's not a lot of movement in our WR lineups when there aren't injuries. He's more than capable of going left or right.
WCG - One of our writers had the chance to talk with White before the draft and he came away very impressed. The Bears and other media outlets rave about his character and positive attitude. Is this the same White you came to know during his two years at WVU?
TSM - Kevin was great while at WVU. He dealt with some unfounded rumors of character issues that I never could quite understand and I was glad to see that teams were actually grading him out as having good character in their pre-draft processes. He's also really entertaining, and you'll get some great practice quotes from him -- both before and after. I'm struggling to find the video, but he had some fantastic moments in summer practice last year.
WCG - What changed for White that he was able to go from 35 receptions in 2013 to 109 last year?
TSM - Two things, really: stability at quarterback and fixing a drop problem better than anyone I've ever seen over the course of a year.
2013 WVU was a giant awful dumpster fire of a quarterback rotation, but in 2014 Clint Trickett was able to take the reins and really own the position. That alone would normally allow a receiver to make a big step forward, but Kevin had a drop problem in 2013 that I was really worried about going into 2014.
His hands were outstanding last year, though, and I've never seen a one-year improvement like it. His ball skills were out of this world. The only Mountaineer with better hands than 2014 Kevin White was probably now-Rams receiver Stedman Bailey, and while you may not have heard the name, it's high praise and I think he's ready to burst onto the scene this season in St. Louis.
WCG - Bears' fans love physical play from their wide outs, how hard was White to tackle and what kind of a blocker is he?
TSM - He's definitely physical. Holgorsen runs a lot more than people who just see the "Mike Leach coaching tree" label would think, and White excelled in downfield blocking. Again, like I said above he was dangerous on screens in both his Junior and Senior seasons, and there were a ton of broken tackles to go along with the out-running.
I think you guys drafted the perfect replacement for Brandon Marshall and a fantastic running mate for Alshon Jeffery in Kevin, and he'll have a great career in Chicago.
Thanks again to Matt Kirchner for dropping the knowledge for us!
For some more stuff on Kevin White, check out this Q&A I did with CollegeToSports.com - How will Kevin White fit in with the Bears? Q&A with Lester Wiltfong of Windy City Gridiron