How can you tell when a player is a late round draft pick or a UDFA? How about a junior RB who declared early for the NFL Draft, played in 37 games. and never started a single one of them? That player is Kerrith Whyte is, but that is not the whole story.
He was not invited to the Combine even though he had better stats than some of the other invitees. He ran the ball over 230 times and had 81 kickoff returns with two TDs. He is bigger, faster (by a lot), with more athletic ability than the player who started in front of him (and is the #89 player on my Draft board).
Whyte is a player with great speed. His pro day timed him at 4.36 in the 40 which would have made him the fastest RB at the Combine by a fairly wide margin. His athletic accolades don’t end there as he had a 11’ broad jump which would have been the best as a RB at the Combine. His 42” vert jump which would have ranked him #1 at the combine by 2 inches over any other RB.
So Whyte is the fastest, most explosive player with serious hops who wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine. He had 335 touches in his 3 year career so it is not like he was lightly used. The problem was he was behind a productive RB who had over 760 touches and 67 TDs. They both had gaudy yards per carry averages.
The point being that there seems to be little drop off from a player I ranked #89 and a player who I ranked much lower. They have different skillsets, but they both have skill.
This second play is an RPO so the left side of the line is run blocking, and the right side is pass blocking. There is no designed hole on this play so Whyte has to pick his way through. He isn’t short, but he has a low center of gravity and very good contact balance. This would be his version of a power run. He breaks two tackles on his way to the end zone.
The next play is quick, and I only show it for two reasons. First it lets you know the first kicoff TD was not a fluke and second is his returning technique. A good returner gets his speed going. As he approaches the mosh pit of players where the two sides meet he will slow down just slightly. He then picks an alley way he thinks is best and accelerates through it.
He doesn’t bounce it out wide. He just hits it straight ahead and gets the most he can get. Some player will always take the kickoff wide because they fear the straight on collision. Whyte uses the best method for returning kicks. He has no fear, and once he gets in the open no one is going to catch him.
This next play I only used to show him reading the play. If you notice, he gets the handoff to a play going to his right. He starts that way, reads the the blocking, and sees a crease that formed to his left.
The next play is another long run that is just well-blocked. Whyte causes players to take bad angles because they can‘t adjust to his speed. You can see he waits for his blocks to develop then bursts through the crease and into the clear.
The last play is just a read option that he takes to the house through a tiny crease. Again you can see him hesitate when he gets the ball. As soon as he sees a crease develop he hits the afterburners and rockets through the hole.
I recently read where Hollywood Brown may be the first WR selected on Thursday because of his speed and game breaking ability. That may be true, but Whyte gives you all the same elements plus stellar special teams play at the cost of (I’m guessing) a 6th round pick. Plus he is a player with only 335 college touches and no known injury history.