The NFL Draft is slowly drawing closer. Mock drafts are being made in abundance, rumors are being whispered, and player profiles are being thrown about like midgets at a St. Patrick’s Day party (it was a wild weekend, don’t ask). One player that I have been banging the table for for over a year now is Mike White, the QB from Western Kentucky University. He’s a little-known player that has gotten very little buzz, and I want to go over why I think we should draft him. So, (Heath Ledger voice) here.. we.. go.
Player Profile: Mike White
- 78″ wingspan
- 32″ arm length
- 9.5″ hands
- 5.09s 40 yard dash
- 27″ vert
- 96″ broad
- 7.4s 3 cone
Those measurables compare to none other than Tom Brady, both in the 77ish percentile.
Let’s break down his positives, and how he would fit in Baltimore, first. The first thing you’ll notice about White is his arm strength. Early on, there was some chatter about how he couldn’t make all the throws – he quickly quieted that nonsense as he began showing off his gun. He’s a former high school pitcher that was capable of a consistent 90MPH fastball. He can turn up the fire if he needs to – and couples that with good accuracy during the drive. He can push the ball into tight windows, with just the right amount of heat, as well as having the skills necessary to attack the middle of the field. The biggest plus that I’ve seen is something that our current signal caller has lost the ability to do – throw a catchable deep ball over the head of the cornerback. He completed roughly 75% of his deep throws (with good protection) in 2016 – remember, in 2017, his protection was nearly non-existent. That’s huge for a QB that’s in a West Coast Offense with speedy threats such as John Brown and Chris Moore. Another thing he does well, unlike our current QB, is reset his feet when he leaves the pocket. That ensures a more catchable ball to extend an otherwise losing play. Finally, and most importantly, he’s had some experience making ‘full field reads’. For the laymen, that means that he has to ability to read a defense pre-snap, and make calls to change the offense if he needs to.
Now, the negatives, while keeping in mind that he would be sitting behind Joe Flacco, and being coached by James Urban for at least the 2018 campaign. As I alluded to in the positives, White is a whole different QB when faced with pressure. This makes for a few different detrimental qualities. The first is that a bad line, combined with his lack of awareness of pressure off of the edge, can result in his fumbling to rear its ugly head. He had 12 fumbles last season – but only 17 if you add his 2016 season (2016, good protection – 2017, no protection). He also has slow pocket movement, which can result in sacks, with subpar protection – heavy feet require him to have a bit more time to get settled. Now, while he has the accuracy and arm strength to make all the throws, finding the throws has been his downfall, as he is a bit slow in making his progressions, should the initial reads be covered. He tends to stay on initial targets rather than find the open man. He also seems to rely on his arm strength more than anticipation – a trait that we are already familiar with. He’s not the best mover out of the pocket either, as his 5 second 40 time may allude to, but is still capable of making some stellar plays once he realizes that the pressure is too close. Now, all of this is coachable, and like I mentioned once before, he would have at least a year (barring injury) to learn before he got thrown to the wolves.
But when should we take him? Mike White started his path to the draft as a Round 7/UDFA prospect. Most analysts have him slated as a Round 3 or 4 guy, and I tend to agree with that grade (although to be fair, I’m higher on him than a lot of people, I’d assume). While I think that he could be had in the 4th, I’d rather the Ravens spend their 3rd (keep in mind, I’m assuming that we stand pat in each round of the draft, for the sake of this article) to grab White. His ceiling is high enough to justify it, especially when you take into account that Flacco may be on borrowed time in Baltimore, should he perform like he did the first half of the 2017 season.
The Ravens should absolutely draft Mike White. This shouldn’t even be an argument, assuming that Josh Allen doesn’t fall to 16 – the only scenario in which I would give up on getting White. He’s got a massive arm, and the size to survive in the rough-and-tumble AFC North. He has all the tools required to be a gifted NFL quarterback, with the right coaching, and right scheme, both of which Baltimore has already. We need to start thinking about the signal caller of the future, the heir to Joe Flacco, the guy who will be the face of the franchise for the next decade. Even if he’s on the bench for the next two years, it would do nothing but strengthen our QB position, and solidify us as potential contenders. He showed a lot of promise and ability in 2016-2017, as well as the Senior Bowl (when he wasn’t running for his life), enough that the Ravens front office should be taking a long, hard look at him.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts, questions, and concerns, in the comments section. Outside views are always good.