Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White stole the hearts and minds of the Chicago faithful when he was drafted with the seventh pick of the 2015 NFL Draft.
A confident guy with a wide smile and bright charisma was juxtaposed with a nasty on-field demeanor and necessary cockiness. White offered a fanbase hope after losing strong production from Brandon Marshall, even if packaged with an unpredictable personality.
He’s a huge receiver at 6-foot-3 with strong hands and track sprinter speed but his injuries have derailed not only his production, but the perception that surrounds him.
Three years in a row, White’s season has ended prematurely due to bone injuries.
At the same time, this should give reason for optimism.
Had this been consistent ligament injuries, we probably couldn’t count on him being capable anymore, but because these were bone injuries, his explosion and speed have a chance to return.
With the signing of Allen Robinson, White doesn’t need to be THE guy, he just needs to be A guy and there’s a significant difference.
In head coach Matt Nagy’s brainchild called offense, he blends the traditional West-Coast scheme with RPO’s and spread-offense concepts.
Coincidentally, White was a monster in two areas at West Virginia: YAC (yards after catch) on short passes and jump ball opportunities. Ironically, that means the new offense being installed is a better fit for him than the last one.
If he’s healthy and looks anything like the player he was coming out of college, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to do exactly what he’s good at next season.
The best thing is that the organization, if no one else but Nagy, believes in White. Honestly, it may have even played a part in not taking a chance on former Bears wide receiver Cam Meredith. Nagy hinted at as much in Tuesday’s press conference following his first day of minicamp stating
The depth right now could improve. That’s the obvious answer. But, again, you have guys in this room, you saw today, that are there and you don’t want to slight them. You want to give them every opportunity.” – Matt Nagy
If you’ve been following along with the development of how Nagy feels about White, he’s essentially saying the same thing he’s been saying since he was hired. He sees White as his personal project and plans to see him evolve into what we all hoped he could be.
There’s been such a cloud of doubt surrounding White, some fans who choose to be optimistic are diminished by other fans or members of the media.
It is not a crime to have hope for a former first-round draft pick.
History suggests the odds are against him, but Nagy got a head coaching job after losing in the first round of the playoffs. New Bears tight end Trey Burton has 629 yards with six touchdowns in four years and was just given a contract that puts him in the top-10 at his position in average annual value.
Robinson is coming off of a torn ACL.
The narrative can be spun in whichever way someone wants to sway an opinion.
It is possible that White gets hurt again, which would be how the story ends as a Chicago Bear.
But what if he doesn’t? That small “what if” represents the feeling of thousands of fans across the nation, and world.
Adam Hoge of WGN radio backed Nagy up in the Hoge and Jahns podcast following practice on Tuesday when he agreed that White played fast and looked sharp.
With low expectations and high hopes, White could turn out to be just what the doctor ordered for the Bears in a career where he’s been the one ordering the doctor.
I, for one, would be very happy with that result.