Over the next few months, we’ll be looking at prospects in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft from a decidedly Cowboys point of view. Taking the Cowboys current personnel, draft position, scheme, and needs into consideration; defensive line, linebacker, defensive backs, as well as complementary offensive pieces at wide receiver, tight end, and perhaps right tackle, we hope to profile the majority of the potential prospects that could realistically end up as Cowboys within the first two rounds. Once the “official visits” start to leak we’ll add prospects that are possibilities in the later rounds.
#18 - Tre’Davious White - Cornerback - LSU - 5-11, 192
Games Watched: Florida, Wisconsin, Texas A&M
Pros: Very experienced, has played extensively all four years in college, and has experience at both left and right outside corner, as well as in the slot. Looks comfortable in press and off coverage, as well as man and zone. Technically sound with polished footwork, perhaps the most technically sound corner in the draft class. Has the athleticism and twitch to open up his hips from press position and run in the receiver’s hip pocket down field, as well as carry them across the field. Does a really nice job covering across the field laterally. Excellent instincts in zone coverage, shows the ability to read plays in front of him and the explosion to plant his back foot, then “click and close” to make the play. Adept at getting his head turned and knocking the ball away at the last second on deep shots. Generally a willing tackler, although he lacks aggression and physicality in that regard. Added value as a punt returner with three career touchdowns returns. Had an impressive 14 pass deflections as a senior.
Cons: Lacks ideal size and length, just a shade over 5-11. Looks stiff and off-balance at times when changing directions at full speed, he seems more fluid in confined spaces when he’s measuring his steps before he reaches full speed. Despite playing a good amount of press coverage I didn’t see him jam receivers very often, doesn’t have ideal physicality either in coverage or run support. Has a tendency to grab when he feels out of position. Doesn’t show enough aggression as a tackler, his form also gets lazy at times as he tends to try to tackle high. Could struggle on deep shots in the NFL against bigger/more physical receivers, he looks to have good awareness of the ball when in coverage downfield, but he only has average leaping ability and doesn’t consistently attack the ball at it’s highest point. In games he doesn’t look to have elite deep speed but his 4.47 40 at the Combine eased those concerns.
Conclusion: White looks like a prospect who will go somewhere between about 25-40, he wouldn’t necessarily be an exciting pick or a huge steal at 28 but he would definitely fill a need with his polished technique and ability to play a variety of coverages, his ability to play in the slot and return punts are added bonuses. He could be an excellent fit given his instincts in zone if Rod Marinelli ends up finally shifting back to his roots of predominantly playing zone coverage with his secondary.
There are certainly concerns though that don’t make him a slam dunk for me at 28, particularly the fact that he doesn’t have elite size, nor is he an elite athlete, and there is plenty to be desired with regard to his physicality and aggression. At the end of the day I’d have hopes that a better prospect would drop to this point in the draft, but if he does end up being the pick it would make sense. He may never be an elite, “number one” type of cornerback but he will almost certainly be a starting caliber player early in his career.
I do not have access to coach’s film or anything of that nature, I just watch plenty of football (television broadcast version) and go off what I see out of a prospect. I started this odd fascination of mine in 2011 when I sent my breakdown and links to videos of Tyron Smith at USC to the excellent Cowboys blogger Bob Sturm (April 28, 2011 - Even More Tyron Smith Tape). Since then I’ve continued watching prospects closely, but I’ve never taken the initiative to actually formally write my thoughts until I became a writer for BTB. I hope that I can provide an interesting, and accurate perspective on prospects from a Cowboys-centric point of view.
Special thanks to DraftBreakdown for posting the videos that help provide a more in-depth look at this year’s prospects.