Devin White, LB
School: LSU | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 240 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 1st Round
NFL Comparison: Bobby Wagner
Shout out to Moonage Daydream for inspiring the title of this profile. Devin White is the best inside linebacker prospect in this draft class. White was a 4-star prospect from Louisiana who as you can imagine got offers from many top programs. White was also a two-way player in high school playing both running back and linebacker and produced at a very high level on both sides of the ball. With that sort of athleticism it’s no wonder he has been so successful at the college level in the SEC. White’s path could have gone very differently under slightly different circumstances due to some of his decisions. He got into some trouble before he ever set foot on campus. As a senior in high school he was charged with carnal knowledge of a minor, a misdemeanor and not a felony luckily for him as he was 17 and the minor was 14 at the time. Shortly after that he was charged with another misdemeanor for careless operation of a motor vehicle and running from the police. He has not gotten in to any other legal trouble since these incidents. White ticks all the boxes for a prototypical franchise linebacker on the field. He has been compared to generational players at the position like Ray Lewis. Making plays on the field is easy for him. The tough part of this process for him will be his ability to convince NFL front offices that his bad decisions in the part were indeed due to carelessness and to lack of maturity. Barring any major negative event in interviews or during his athletic testing process White projects to be a top 15 pick.
- Excellent range, athleticism, speed, physicality for the position + good size.
- What sticks out immediately is his athletic ability and fluidity in space. White is a sideline to sideline player with good movement and range skills in coverage. He works well in pursuit and plays with great quickness and physicality. He’s a prolific and solid tackler with some pop behind his hits and more times that not once he gets his hands on you you’re going to the ground.
- Flashes great instincts and read and react ability. His intuition is usually right and he operates without hesitation. He is particularly good and setting the line of scrimmage and can show up big in short yardage situations.
- Offers some value as a pass rusher as well up the middle. He can use his quickness to beat interior OL and become disruptive in the backfield.
- Always looking for the ball and has produced some key fumbles and pass deflections in coverage.
- Well respected by teammates and thought of as a leader who holds them accountable and isn’t afraid to be vocal.
- Consistency with instincts and read react ability. White can go full speed ahead to a gap where the ball isn’t going once the ball is snapped. This could be a mix of guessing and wanting to make a big play as well as some pre planned gap rush assignment. It’s hard to discern which may be which.
- Didn’t see great technique or strategy for getting off blocks as a rusher or in run support. It’s clear he likes the brute force method of just running into a guy and pushing him back but he would be way more efficient if he actually learned how to use his hands.
- Aggressive player who can overshoot the ball at times.
- Maturity questions?
Let’s see his work:
The tremendous lateral movement from Sideline to Sideline with legitimate #NFL Speed will make Devin White the first LB taken in this upcoming draft.— Josh Lemoine (@LsuFBallTruth) February 20, 2019
White’s name will be called in the first 10 Picks...Team Need makes him fall slightly.
Just a couple plays later Devin White does a great job of getting off the block and finishing the play short of the GL. pic.twitter.com/KAyFFsK7ak— Davis Smith (@DavisJSmithFB) February 20, 2019
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
White would obviously be a stellar piece to add on the field and build around on defense for the Redskins. I don’t think there would be any cause for concern about his high school incidents for most teams including Washington. It would be great to see White fill the MIKE role with Reuben Foster filling the TED role in the Redskins base scheme. Imagine the athleticism and physicality! The prospect of that kind of talent at the linebacker position is not something the Redskins have had for a very long time. White has the skillset the Redskins have missed at the position especially in run support, tackling consistency, and in coverage. Coverage is an underrated part of White’s game and while he’s no corner or safety out there he looks more than capable of sticking with tight ends and most running backs. I would hope working with the new linebacker coach White could improve his hand usage and pick up on some of the finer nuances of the positions regarding gap attacking. If he can add that to his arsenal then we very well may be talking about a generational player. The team needs an upgrade at the position as insurance against free agency, cap casualty, and possibly suspension. It would not be the worst strategy to continue to build a top tier defense with star players and quality depth to continue to support a below average offense. With a known shortage of QB quality and quantity in this year’s draft if Devin White somehow made it to pick 15 the Redskins would be fools not to select him and get a bonafide starter and likely 10 year (or more) player who can transform the defense.