Every year there is always a voice from some NFL fans to wait on a quarterback. Let your guy fall to you, they say. Find the next Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott in the mid rounds. While those names sounds terrific in terms of value of the draft pick, the fact of the matter is that those names stand out as low probability success stories. Those names are the rare breed.
In actuality, taking a quarterback any time outside of the first two rounds is almost guaranteed to be a lottery ticket set on fire.
Over the past decade, 84 quarterbacks were taken in the third round or later. The only current starters from this group stand as Wilson, Prescott, and Kirk Cousins. Even adding in Jacoby Brissett and Nate Peterman, potential starters, just 6-percent of those picks turned into longer-term starters. Only nine of those 84, 11% have started just ten games in the NFL, and only 25, 30% have started one single game. Needless to say, if you were to wager on their success, super betting sites would likely give you incredible odds for such a longshot. What hurts the most is that barely half of the quarterbacks taken in this range have even stuck in the NFL. 43, 51% of the quarterbacks drafted in the past decade are either currently in the NFL or had a career of at least four seasons. Considering names like Brad Kaaya, Brandon Doughty, and Jeff Driskell, among others are still with less than four years of experience it is safe to say that the number of four-year successes will be below half when looking back on the decade of late round picks.
This brings us to Mike White. By all accounts from many prognosticators, Mike White is going to be in this group of low probability bets. With the odds stacked against him, the question should come, what would make a team willing to take the shot on this individual? Does his skill set suggest that he can be on the lower probability end of these odds?
Betting on Mike White
White has some of the tools that are going to entice somebody to take their mid-round swing on him. A former baseball pitcher, Mike White had a fastball and a big arm. White has the ability to shoot the ball down the field and with accuracy. Watch below as perfect form and footwork are in place as he leads his receiver towards the end zone with his deep field dart.
Even as pressure comes in on him, White delivers over the back shoulder of the defender down the field.
Again, anticipation is shown in a darting fastball that leads his receiver into space.
On top of a big arm worth of investing in is the player who throws with anticipation and understands how to read defenses and make progressions down the field.
He is willing to keep plays alive and is quicker than some may think. Watch as he navigates pressure but consistently has his head up and eyes downfield.
Questions of pressure
To say that White has experience dealing with pressure similar to the play above is putting it lightly. White was sacked 46 times. A lot of the blame can be passed off to his offensive line and skill players. As you can see in the play below, White is progressing quickly and trying to get the ball out of his hands. However, the blitz was not picked up, and despite White noticing and responding, he had nowhere to go and no time to get there.
However, on the other hand, he did not recognize the blitz and adjust his line. He also was slow to step away and was caught from behind. You can also see on that play some issues with the foot movement of White.
White has heavy feet and fails to adjust them when under pressure. Like the play above, his body is usually moving before his feet. This leaves him throwing off of base a lot, and leaves him flatfooted under pressure. Notice the play below. He notices the pressure and has a man open. However, he is standing flat-footed as his body is reacting to the pressure before his feet. The result is a duck that is intercepted.
In the play below, he does a great job of standing in the pocket until the last second to complete the pass. However, again, his feet are slow to react. He is fading backward, drifts his left foot back and loses almost all of his velocity. Arm talent completed this pass, but the lack of velocity will not lead to a completion in the NFL.
Even just a small push upfront has White off. He steps away to avoid the pressure. His ability to feel pressure is strong. However, he never resets his backfoot before letting go. This results in a poorly placed pass incomplete.
This can even show in a clean pocket. His body is essentially square to his target as he stands cleanly in and misses his target. It is clear that pressure had a strong impact on his mental processing and footwork. Hopefully, with time growing as a backup, he can begin to build the confidence and movement in his feet up.
Mike White is not a perfect prospect. However, with arm talent and an ability to understand the game, there is a base to build upon. The fixes with his game come with footwork and that is something that can be taught. The hope is that he can create habits with his feet without the pressure on and will be able to translate them to an NFL field down the line.
The odds are against Mike White making it in the NFL. However, there are worse bets to make in this draft class.