Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

James White; A Sneaky NFL Draft Sleeper


If you were to build your own franchise in today’s NFL, what attributes would your stud running back own?

Would you want a smash-mouth bruiser in between the tackles? A speed guy that fly’s around the perimeter? Or would you want a guy that has an average build with great hands, vision and agility?

If you chose option three, then you made the right choice.

General Managers in today’s NFL are looking for the new era of running backs for the new pass happy NFL. If faced with the decision, I’m positive every GM in the NFL would choose a back that possesses good hands, quick feet and great vision over a running back that is pure power and muscle.

Senior Badger running back James White owns all of the features you see in option three. White possesses a great set of hands out of the backfield, he has amazing vision and patience while weaving in between blockers and defenders and he has smooth agility with great “football” speed while running in open space.

White’s own some very impressive current career stats as a Badger (592 att., 3,727 yards, 6.3 ypc avg., 44 TD’s and he also has 65 rec., 627 receiving yards, 10.7 ypc avg., on three touchdowns) and those stats have all been earned with some very low miles on White’s stature. White has had the benefit of gaining these impressive stats while splitting his workload with former Badger back Montee Ball and current running mate Melvin Gordon.

I spent a lot of time trying to find a back in the NFL today that has the same skill set and stature as White and I found the perfect match. Cincinnati Bengals star rookie running back Giovani Bernard. Take a minute to watch this highlight video of Bernard when he was in school at the University of North Carolina. If you put a highlight video of Bernard and White next to each other, you will see what I’m talking about. They’re both smooth in open field, have great hands out of the backfield and have great quickness and elusiveness.

Currently, White is projected to selected in the 5th round of the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. If White has an eye opening performance in the combine and performs well at the Badger Pro Day, I can see him rise up the draft boards, possibly somewhere near the 3rd or late 2nd round. There are plenty of talented running backs that are projected in front of White, including Melvin Gordon, so White will need a perfect combine and pro day if he wants to see himself get selected near the 3rd round. Even if White does get selected in the 5th round or later, I still think he will be a valued asset for which ever team selects him.

Look at the teams in the NFL that are winning and are winning in the postseason. New Orleans has Darren Sproles. Baltimore has Ray Rice. Denver has Knowshon Moreno. All of those backs listed are smaller guys with quickness, pass blocking skills and great hands. What I’m trying to say ladies and gentleman is that James White has a TON of value and should not be overlooked on draft day. He fits the mold of the perfect running back in today’s NFL. If I was to build my own NFL team, I would draft Mr. White ten times out of ten.

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Tags: Giovani Bernard James White Melvin Gordon NFL Draft Preview Wisconsin Badger Football

  • Emily Sanderson

    Never thought to compare White to Giovani Bernard, but your right thats a great comparison. Good call on that!