Last year the Chicago Bears selected wide receiver Kevin White with the 7th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Before the draft took place, some scouts were debating if West Virginia's White or Alabama's Amari Cooper would be the top receiver selected. Cooper ended up going to the Oakland Raiders with the 4th overall pick and he had an outstanding rookie year. Cooper's 72 catches, 1,070 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns were enough to get him into the Pro Bowl.
Cooper's success left many Bears' fans wondering what could have been had White not injured his shin and missed the entire 2015 season. The Bears were without fellow wide outs Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal for much of last year and the offense really could have used the explosive White.
Kevin White should be Chicago's #2 WR, behind #1 Alshon Jeffery, and that alone should do wonders for White's game. Teams will probably put their top corner on Jeffery, as he has the track record of success in the NFL, leaving their #2 to match up against the 6'3", 216 pounder. White has the strength and athleticism to go up and get the football, but he also has the speed to run away from defenders. If we're to believe the reports, he's stronger and faster than he was a year ago.
Kevin White is my #9 Most Important Bear because he has the potential to be the most dynamic and explosive playmaker on Chicago's offense. We're talking about a guy that is a threat to score every time he touches the football.
In case you need a reminder of what White can do, here are some of his college highlights.
Chicago's offense will commit to the run, but if it's clicking, they'll have plenty of play action opportunities to go deep. White was a full participant at all the Bears' offseason practices and he participated in quarterback Jay Cutler's offseason work outs. The bond between quarterback and wide receiver has been there all during White's rehab.
This is White on Cutler from SI's Monday Morning Quarterback;
He told me to take my time and make sure my body is legit. He sent me to masseuses and chiropractors, and helped me eat the right foods and vitamins, and being able to stretch a lot. Teaching me a lot I didn't even know about the body. He'd say, "Kev, you are not ready yet," or, "You look good today, how is the leg feeling?" Things of that nature. He was with me every step of the way.
White was impressive during camp and OTAs, although he did have some issues with drops. My guess is we can chalk this up to some "rookie" jitters and him just acclimating to the speed of everything.
The Bears' O will need White to play up to the potential that made him a top 10 pick last year, especially with the loss of two big receiving threats in Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett.
The guys over at NumberFire crunched the numbers to see what kind of impact White could have and they believe he'll have plenty of opportunities to shine.
...it's only reasonable to assume that the Bears will run the ball just as much as they did last season. Assuming that the Bears' pass attempts stay roughly the same, let's evaluate White's opportunity in 2016.
The Bears attempted 523 passes in 2015, or 32.69 per week. When he was healthy, Jeffery saw 10.4 targets per week. Jay Cutler has shown trust in Jeffery, and there is no reason to expect that to not continue.
Tight end Zach Miller, who came on during the latter portion of 2015, averaged more than five targets per game after the Bears' bye week. Between slot receiver Eddie Royal (5.6 targets per week) and running back Jeremy Langford (2.8 targets per week), we've accounted for 24 of 35 weekly targets. That leaves 11 or so targets per week for White and the rest of the Bears' weapons. Even a fairly conservative estimate of seven targets per week would yield 112 over 16 games, which would have ranked 25th among receivers last year.
Be sure to check out NumberFire's full article on White.
What are you guys expecting from White in 2016?