Eagles Rumors: First-Round Pick Available as Free Agent WR

Kevin White

Getty Kevin White went No. 7 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft and is available as a free agent.

Kevin White was once supposed to be the next Steve Smith or Larry Fitzgerald. Then, the West Virginia speedster mysteriously disappeared.

White was a freak athlete at the 2015 NFL Combine and enjoyed a meteoric rise up draft boards, drawing wow reviews for his jarring combination of size (6-foot-3, 216 pounds) and speed (4.35 in the 40).

The Bears were so impressed by the New Jersey native — White actually attended Emmaus High School in Pennsylvania — that they took him in the first round of the 2015 draft, seventh overall. He went three picks after Amari Cooper in the draft.

The much-hyped receiver was a two-year starter at West Virginia where he accumulated 1,954 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 23 games. White was destined to be a game-changing overnight sensation in the NFL.

His scouting report read like a Christmas wish list, if Santa Claus were delivering made-to-order wide receivers:

Per Bleacher Report: White is the total package: upside and production on an NFL-ready frame. White’s hands were dramatically improved in 2014 once healed from a shoulder injury that slowed him in ‘13. He attacks the ball in the air and has big, strong hands. Cornerbacks can’t beat him at the line with a jam because of his quick-twitch speed and strength. He’s big enough and long enough to compete on 50/50 passes and has the confidence to believe the ball is his.

White Available as Free Agent Option to Any Team

The NFL’s list of free agents is a tricky thing. Most of the players sitting out there are available for a reason. Usually not good reasons.

For White, it was predictably due to injuries and the immensely talented first-round pick flamed out unceremoniously. He missed a large chunk of training camp during his rookie year in 2015 while dealing with a shin injury, then hit the PUP list after getting a steel rod inserted in his tibia.

White was shut down again in 2016 with a fractured fibula and then a shattered shoulder blade sent him to injured reserve in 2017. He wound up playing in just 14 games for the Bears in three seasons before the team declined his fifth-year option. White left Chicago with 25 catches for 285 yards and no touchdowns.

In 2019, the underachieving receiver went to Arizona where he predictably injured his hamstring and missed final cuts. Perhaps his biggest claim to fame was breaking Orlando Scandrick’s ankles in a preseason game. White has been out of work since August 21.

Why Should the Eagles Take a Chance on Oft-Injured WR?

The better question, why not? There would be absolutely no expectations and the Eagles could sign a former first-round pick for the league minimum. Bring Kevin White in for a workout and if the hamstring injury that limited him at Cardinals training camp is still an issue, then don’t sign him. No harm, no foul.

But maybe White could channel the energy and drive that once had scouts calling him “a super-sized Steve Smith” and “White is built similarly to Larry Fitzgerald.” In 2015, some teams had White ranked higher than Amari Cooper on their draft boards. He rarely showed it but talent doesn’t evaporate.

“Kevin White is my No. 1 wide receiver,” former draft analyst and current Raiders GM Mike Mayock told NFL.com in 2015. “He has strong hands and is a physical runner after the catch.”

Despite only starting five games in Chicago, White did provide a few splash plays. His biggest regular-season ones came on a 32-yard completion from Brian Hoyer in 2016 and a 54-yard Hail Mary reception from Mitchell Trubisky in 2018. (On the latter, he probably should have made a better effort to get that extra one yard).

NE/CHI: Mitch Trubisky's last ditch Hail Mary connects but short of the endzone 10/21/18Here's the last play of Sunday's New England Patriots/Chicago Bears game as Mitchell Trubisky for the Bears throws & connects on a 54-yard Hail Mary to Kevin White..Problem is, he was tackled one yard short of the endzone as the Patriots hang on for a thrilling 38-31 win.2018-10-21T22:26:23.000Z

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