This could be the year Kevin White proves all of his doubters wrong.
When he was selected by the Chicago Bears with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, expectations for him were high right out of the gate. However, he injured his shin and missed his entire rookie season.
The next year, things were still looking up for the West Virginia alum. He started the year off healthy, and even got off to a good start. He had 19 receptions and 187 receiving yards in the first four games of the 2016 season. As was the case in the previous season, though, injury struck. He fractured his fibula in his left leg, and missed the rest of the year.
Fast forward to 2017, and a lot of Bears fans are growing impatient with him. Some have already given him the “bust” label. His inability to stay healthy has drawn the ire of many.
White, however, doesn't appear to be stressing his injury history too much.
In a meeting with the press last week, he had this to say about his bad luck as of late:
"I'm not really worried about any injuries," he said. "I'm just trying to take care of my body and do what I have to do to be on the field to produce and to help my team win."
Bears fans can only hope that that confidence translates to production this season.
Age: 25 years old
Experience: Third season
Weight: 216 pounds
Contract and salary cap
According to Spotrac, White is in the third year of his four-year rookie contract. He will be receiving a base salary of $615,000, as well as a combined bonus of $3,902,195. His contract does come with a fifth-year option, though.
Reason for improvement in 2017
With Alshon Jeffery gone, White will likely play a big role in Chicago's offense. He was on the field for 80 percent of offensive snaps in the games he played, on average. Now that he has a less talented (but still talented, nonetheless) player lining up beside him, expect that number to rise. He still has a lot of potential to tap into, as shown by his performance last season. If he can stay healthy, then he could be in for a breakout season.
Reason for regression in 2017
Obviously, White hasn’t had the best of luck with injuries so far in his career. If he fails to stay healthy this year, then the writing could be on the wall for his departure from Chicago in two years. This idea is far-fetched, but considering his recent track record, it's not impossible.
Final roster odds
White is pretty much a lock to make the 53-man roster this year. The Bears are pretty thin at the top of their wide receiver depth chart, so getting rid of him would be a huge mistake. He will likely play a big role in their offense this season.