Name: Devin White
Position: Inside Linebacker
The thing that I first noticed about White was his speed and quickness. He is a very effective rusher from depth. White came from a 3-4 defense at LSU who often incorporated the inside linebacker in to their 4 man rush. White was a better at rushing the passer from depth than he was when rolled up on the line of scrimmage. Most of the time I saw him play the strongside inside linebacker and was lined up mostly towards the offensive strength. He did a very good job playing everything sideline to sideline and taking good angles. When he was playing against a sweep or stretch play he flowed down the line of scrimmage well and made a play at or near the line of scrimmage.
When it comes to playing the pass, White looked good in zone coverage. LSU didn’t play a lot of man defense from the tapes that I saw, but when they did he usually ran step for step with either the tight end or running back. In zone coverage he mostly occupied the hook/curl zone which indicates that they played a lot of cover 3. He looked comfortable in his drops and had a good presence for receivers in his zone. His speed and vision help a lot in regards to this area.
Because White is such a quick player he had a tenancy to get out of position. I noticed on several blitzes he was so quick to get to the quarterback that he often ran by him and didn’t come to balance. When he came through clean he struggled at breaking down and finding the ball carrier. He needs to learn to play quick but do so under control.
In the run game I felt like he needs to work at filling gaps with lower pad level. He stood too tall at times which left him vulnerable to getting blocked out by the blocker. He needs to use his hands more in shucking blocks. I felt like he almost relied too much on his speed and paid the price for it. Some times its almost better to take out the ankles of a blocker and “make a pile” so the ball carrier has nowhere to go.
Overall Grade: B+
White is one of the best inside linebackers in this class. I think he will translate well at the next level if he pegs down the little things. It will take work at training camp, but he could get a decent amount of snaps in during his rookie season. While I don’t see White landing in Green Bay, I think he will be an asset to any team around the NFL.
The Packers, for the most part, are sitting well at the inside linebacker position. We will see what happens during the offseason, but I would like to think that both Blake Martinez and Jake Ryan will be healthy next year and do a good job at leading Mike Pettine’s defense.