Almost all Chicago Bears fans have used those words to describe Kevin White…and for good reason.
In every sense of the word, White has been a bust for the Bears. The first first-round pick of general manager Ryan Pace in 2015, White missed his entire rookie season with a shin injury. Following four starts in 2016, White missed the remainder of the year with a broken fibula. He began the 2017 season as a starter but saw his season end quickly after fracturing his shoulder blade in the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
For the Bears to enter the 2018 season with heavy expectations for White would be foolish. After appearing in just five games in three seasons Chicago should take any production from the young wideout as a bonus this upcoming season. Many will want the Bears to release him since he has been such a massive disappointment, but releasing him would only serve to cost the organization money.
According to Spotrac, White carries over $5.2 million worth of dead money in 2018. At least hanging onto him and seeing what he can do makes sense since the team will have to pay him anyways.
With a new head coach in place in Matt Nagy there is always a chance the young wideout can finally reach some of his potential. Nagy’s offensive system is likely to be similar to that of Andy Reid’s from their time spent together in Kansas City. If White is healthy he could benefit from playing in that type of an offense because it plays into his strengths.
Since Bears fans have only seen him in five games it is truly hard to get a firm grasp on his talent-level, meaning looking back at what he was able to do at West Virginia is the best way to understand how he can be used in Nagy’s system.
White’s greatest strengths at West Virginia were his ability to get deep down the field in a hurry and his willingness to go up and get the football. He consistently beat his man off the line of scrimmage and that is something that makes the West Coast offense successful in the NFL. The scheme is predicated on getting rid of the football quickly in order to allow the receiver to do maximum damage in the open field.
He was far from polished as a route-runner and that is an area he needs to show signs of improvement. One other way he could have an impact in Nagy’s system is in the screen game. Some of his most impressive plays at West Virginia came when the quarterback got rid of the football quickly and allowed him to do work in the open field. Chicago has not used him in that capacity often in his limited games and it should be an area Nagy looks to explore with White in 2018.
The wide receiver position will remain a massive need for Chicago in 2018, but there should still be a slight glimmer of hope that White can at least turn into a third or fourth option if utilized properly under Nagy.
Chicago cannot come into the 2018 season counting on White to really give them anything considering his injury history, but if he can stay healthy and show off that burst and speed he had at West Virginia, he may finally be able to be productive on the field under Nagy.