Linebacker Devin White’s draft stock has likely risen following an impressive NFL Scouting Combine. And while he’s likely to slip through the fingers of the San Francisco 49ers, he’s still worth checking out.
Running back convert, linebacker Devin White, is projected to be selected in the first half of the upcoming draft, likely in the top 10. And following a standout performance during the NFL Scouting Combine, he may just rise further up the board for teams who are in need of a player ready to be a starter straight away.
One area the San Francisco 49ers need to improve during the offseason is linebacker. Surprisingly, the Niners need at linebacker has been somewhat quiet since the completion of 2018. In a defense-heavy 2019 NFL Draft, might the 49ers look to the draft to help supplement their linebacker depth chart?
Out of Louisiana State University, White measures in at 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds. He saw good production from his sophomore and junior years as he continued to improve at the position. 2018 saw White with a combined total of 123 tackles, including 12 for a loss and three sacks. He had six pass deflections as well as three forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered.
"Running back convert out of high school who continues to show rapid development as a high-impact linebacker in a physical conference. White is still learning to take on blocks and play with better control/efficiency, but he’s a willing pupil and coaching should improve both areas. White’s work ethic, competitiveness, and rare play speed are elements that can’t be taught and should push him into an early starter’s role and a successful NFL career."
White will add an instant impact to whichever NFL team drafts him. He brings with him a great physical and aggressive playing style which he utilizes to hit players and attempt to force a fumble.
His speed and acceleration are phenomenal for a linebacker, giving him the edge and ability to compete with just about any opposing offensive player. White’s speed is something that will no doubt further boost his position in the draft, ranking as the fastest linebacker in the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash.
The remainder of Devin White’s combine results were also impressive:
- 40-yard dash – 4.42 seconds
- Bench press – 22 reps
- Vertical jump – 39.5 inches
- Broad jump – 118.0 inches
- 3 Cone drill – 7.07 seconds
- 20-yard shuttle – 4.17 seconds
Following his 40-yard dash, White broke down on the sideline after talking to his mother and hearing her joy and excitement on his accomplishment:
Not only does he bring speed, White possesses the agility to weave through traffic and past blockers to make the tackle, while he is also capable of playing from sideline to sideline and should have no issues competing in zone coverage.
While White displays many qualities that will make him appealing to NFL teams, he does have some areas he will need to continue to work on during training camp and into his rookie year.
He needs to become more adept at reading plays and not falling for fakes, something which he continued to struggle with during college. An improvement in his processing skills should greatly aid him in the early years of his NFL career.
Pulling back somewhat on his aggressive tackling technique will also help White reduce missed tackles by going in too strong and fast, something former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster had problems with.
With the pros far outweighing the cons, White should make a sudden impact on the field and be one of the top linebacker rookies for the 2019 season.