The 2018 NFL Draft is over, but we are not done reviewing the draft just yet! In the coming days, BTB will release film reviews on each player drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. This article features fourth-round pick Mike White out of Western Kentucky.
In today’s NFL, it is extremely difficult to build a Super Bowl contender, let alone a Super Bowl winner. If a team can match their Super Bowl template to the progression of a young quarterback, it can lead to huge dividends. The Cowboys have one young quarterback in Dak Prescott who burst onto the scene once Tony Romo injured his back in preseason.
Dallas has made it clear that they want to make their offense more “Dak-friendly”. By adding two receivers in free agency and adding two Day 2 picks to the offense, they have done that, even with the release of Dez Bryant and the retirement of Jason Witten. So if Dallas is so committed to Prescott, the choice of drafting Western Kentucky’s Mike White definitely raised some eyebrows.
Are the Cowboys making a statement to Prescott? Possibly, but most likely no. Instead, this coaching staff has emphasized the importance of creating competition on the roster. And while adding White does that, it also gives the Cowboys some flexibility and options in case of unfortunate injury or lackluster play at the position.
At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, White is a bigger quarterback. A baseball pitcher growing up, White’s production was eye-popping at Western Kentucky.
While White took a step back in 2017, it is worth noting that his offensive line was subpar and he did not receive ample time in the pocket. But there is a still a lot of tape on White for us to evaluate him and project his potential and future in the NFL.
Let’s take a look at some of White’s snaps to see what makes him special.
White delivers a nice football here, showcasing his arm talent and accuracy. Perhaps more importantly, this plays shows an ability to hang in the pocket and deliver a strike to the receiver even with pressure in his face and knowing he’ll take a hit.
The above clip is a really nice clip of what you want to see in your NFL quarterback. At the beginning of the GIF prior to the snap, you will see White look over his receiver to recognize that he will have an advantage if his receiver can win off of the line of scrimmage. Once his receiver does that, White delivers a perfect pass with touch right over the top of the defender and the pass falls softly into his receiver's hands.
It is so important for NFL quarterbacks to make something out of nothing on the run. Tony Romo was so good at it in his NFL career. Prescott has shown his ability to. And while White is not as athletic as the previous two, he has the ability to make some plays while delivering accurate passes on the run.
It has been documented as to how bad the offensive line was in front of White. However, when he is given some space to move around in the pocket, he can throw a really nice ball, as shown here. White keeps his feet moving in the pocket while waiting for his receiver to uncover; he keeps his eyes downfield and delivers.
When the pocket is healthy, White has the abiility to go through his progressions and deliver strikes. In this throw, White puts the ball right in between the defenders, leading his receiver to the ball for a score.
The clip above is a good example of White’s skillset. From the snap, his movements are a bit herky-jerky. His delivery is a little elongated, but he has the arm talent to get the football in a good spot. Fortunately for White, most of his problems are coachable, whereas some of his strengths are things that cannot be coached.
Going back to his arm talent, White can put passes in tight, contested areas where only his receiver can make plays on it. However, I will say that he is inconsistent in this regard. He shows the ability to do this occasionally, but he also has issues of inaccuracy on quick passes, putting passes in areas that could be batted up in the air, possibly leading to interceptions.
White has an innate ability to put the ball in areas where he leads his receiver. In this clip, he is given time in pocket to find his receiver downfield. He sets his feet well, gains power off climbing in the pocket, and hits his receiver on the run.
The tape of 2016 versus 2017 is vastly. White not only lost his best weapon in Taywan Taylor after the 2016 season, but the offensive line went through a change as well. White was not given a lot of time in the pocket and that led to increase sack numbers and it contributed to more turnovers for the Hilltoppers.
The perfect word to describe White truly is “project”. That term gets thrown around often for backup quarterbacks, but it is the best description for White and his long-term outlook.
For starters, he will need to increase his accuracy and and his progression reads. He is not the type of quarterback who wins with mobility. Like most quarterbacks, White is at his best when the pocket is clean and he can read through his progressions. He has the arm talent to deliver the football all across the field, but he becomes inaccurate and timid when the pocket collapses and he becomes hurried.
His level of passing varies depending on where he is throwing the football. On short and intermediate routes, he throws lasers into specific areas. He may want to decrease the power on some of those passes, as the tape showed it can lead to turnovers from tipped passes. On deep passes, he gets air in the football to beat defenders and put the ball in spaces that lead his receivers.
White can look awkward sometimes when he is out of the pocket. He’s vastly different from Prescott in that he is really dedicated to the pocket and not making throws on the run.
In Scott Linehan’s system, as long as he is given time, White could be a solid passer once his anticipation skills match up with his arm power. This will happen once he gets adjusted to an NFL system and when he consistently works with NFL players.
Games Watched: FAU (2017), Middle Tennessee State (2017), Georgia State (2017), Alabama (2016), and Memphis (2016).