In the seventh round of the NFL Draft, it’s complete pandemonium. Anything goes once the blue chip prospects are off the board. After already adding likely 2019 starter David Montgomery, the Bears have drafted former Florida Atlantic University running back Kerrith Whyte Jr. at No. 222 overall in the seventh round.
A home-run hitter and speedster of the highest order, let’s grade the Bears’ selection of Whyte Jr. at No. 222 overall.
There should be no questions about Whyte Jr. the player. He’s an explosive talent who is a downright headache to bring down one-on-one. The only reason he gets a C or an “average” grade is because the Bears already have a crowded running back room with Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, and Mike Davis. The only way I see Whyte Jr. contributing, at least in 2019, is if he finds a role on special teams. For the life of me, I could never grade out an initial third phase player with stellar marks. There aren’t enough special teams snaps in a game to denote it as particularly impactful.
That aside, Whyte Jr. is a joy to take in. Even while acting as the secondary option to starter and former teammate Devin Singletary, Whyte Jr. still carved out a solid role with Florida Atlantic over the course of his three-year college career. At 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, he helped form quite the compact, effective, and explosive backfield duo. In some circles, he could be called a better NFL talent — not college — than Singletary and no one would bat an eye lash.
Known as a blazer, Whyte Jr. scored 10 touchdowns for Florida Atlantic last season. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry and, while on a small sample size of 10 receptions, averaged 16 yards a catch. Every time he touched the ball it was a chunk play. I challenge you to watch any single part of Whyte Jr.’s film and think you would have a chance to even brush him in the open field. You wouldn’t because he’s the definition of a backfield blur.
Most seventh-round NFL draft picks are long shots and Whyte Jr. will likely be no different. While the Bears like his athletic profile enough use to draft capital on him, that doesn’t mean he has any less of tall odds to make their final 53-man roster. If he’s going to find playing time as a running back, he’ll have to supplant Davis — by far the highest-paid Bears running back. Talent should always win out first but remember that money talks. If Whyte Jr. can’t leap over Davis, there could be a place for him on the third phase as a returner. Any late-round draft selection who has made a name for himself had to start on special teams somewhere. However, the Terrell Davis-type is rare and it’s foolish to project what the Bears have there in late April.
The Bears have a compelling, deep, and overhauled running back room at Halas Hall. How their backfield shakes out will be one of the more important storylines of the summer. It’s up to Whyte Jr. to make sure he maintains his agency and has a say in the narrative.
How would you grade the Bears’ selection of Kerrith Whyte, Jr. at No. 222 overall?
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