Bears keep tabs on RB James White

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by little bear, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago-bears/post/_/id/4691581/bears-keep-tabs-on-badgers-rb-james-white

    Bears keep tabs on RB James White (Wisconsin)

    The release of veteran running back Michael Bush on March 10 left a hole in the Chicago Bears' backfield the team must eventually fill.

    While the Bears do currently have second-year tailback/return man Michael Ford slotted behind two-time Pro Bowler Matt Forte on the depth chart, the team could use more depth and competition at the position.
    That help could arrive next month if the Bears select a running back somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds of the upcoming NFL draft, a reasonable target area given the priority in the early rounds will likely be safety, cornerback, defensive tackle and inside linebacker, in no particular order.

    One backfield prospect to keep tabs on is former Wisconsin running back James White, who led all rushers with 11 carries for 62 yards and one touchdown at the 2014 Senior Bowl.

    The Bears recently traveled to Wisconsin's campus in Madison to put White through a private pre-draft workout, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

    Although listed at 5-foot-9, 204 pounds, White finished his four-year career at Wisconsin as the Badgers' No. 4 all-time leading rusher with 4,015 yards and ranks No. 3 in school history with 45 rushing touchdowns.

    White ran for 1,444 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 39 passes for 300 yards and two scores for Wisconsin last season. He also returned kickoffs his first two years in Madison.

    Keep in mind, the Bears require a versatile running back that is capable of not only picking up yards on the ground if called upon, but also a player that can catch the ball out of the backfield. Utilizing the tailback in the passing game is a key component of Marc Trestman's offense, and one of Forte's greatest strengths since entering the league in 2008.

    In addition to White, there should be an ample supply of running backs for the Bears to choose from in the later rounds if the organization decides to fill that need via the draft.

    Other names to consider are Alabama State's Isaiah Crowell, Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas (the Bears reportedly hosted Thomas on a top-30 pre-draft visit at Halas Hall), Tennessee's Rajion Neal, Stanford's Tyler Gaffney, Louisville's Senorise Perry, Arizona State's Marion Grice and Florida State's James Wilder, Jr., among others.

    Grice suffered a lower leg injury last year and had to wait until last week to work out in front of scouts at his personal Pro Bowl. Representatives from 17 NFL teams were in attendance. The Bears were not present, but the 6-foot, 207 pound Grice did catch 91 passes out of the backfield for the Sun Devils over the last two seasons.

    The Bears also worked out a handful of veteran free agent running backs last week at Halas Hall.

    --------------------

    http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/james-white?id=2543773

    • 5'9" Height
    • 29 1/4" Arm Length
    • 204LBS. Weight
    • 8 1/4" Hands

    Overview
    2013: Second-team All-Big Ten selection. Finished season with 100-plus rushing yards in five of final six games. Had 1,444 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. 2012: Played in all 14 games, finishing with 806 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. 2011: Played in 13 games, finishing with 713 yards rushing and six touchdowns. 2010: Big Ten Freshman of the Year and honorable mention All-Big Ten after rushing for 1,052 yards and scoring 14 touchdowns.


    Analysis

    Strengths
    Controlled mover with a low center of gravity. Good vision, balance and short-area burst. Shifty runner -- cuts efficiently and jukes tacklers. Shows competitive speed. Finishes runs. Willing blocker in pass protection. Takes care of the football -- fumbled just twice in 754 career touches. Has kickoff-return experience. Tough and competitive. Good football aptitude. Highly respected by teammates and coaches.

    Weaknesses
    Undersized with exceptionally short arms and small hands. Run strength is just adequate. Limited power to move the pile or bust through tackles. Lacks bulk strength to stymie blitzers. Was never a feature back, splitting carries with Broncos 2013 second-rounder Montee Ball as a junior and Melvin Gordon as a senior.

    Bottom Line
    A distant cousin of Santana and Sinorice Moss, White had a very productive career despite splitting carries for four years, and offers a balanced enough skill set to factor as a recyclable, complementary, change-of-pace back in the pros.
  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    undersized w/small hands and a hard time moving the pile....hmmmm I think I'd be happier w/Ford and a UDFA
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  3. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    Not sure we want to replace a pounder, with a shifty guy, but we do not have a shifty guy in the backfield.

    Wolf was the last guy that we had like that. While he was a total waste of a third round draft pick, someone similar to him might be worth a late round pick. Wolf was used poorly, and Turner is to blame for my distaste for small running backs, but there are plenty of successful one in the league.
  4. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Hall of Famer

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    Sounds like pretty much everything you want in a RB except the ability to fall down when touched.
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  5. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    fall backwards when touched.
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  6. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    Frankly, if we go RB anywhere in the draft, I'm hoping Tyler Gaffney from Stanford is still there in the 5th. He's a 6 footer at 225 Lbs, and I think he has more power (watch highlight clips) than some scouting reports give him credit for. He's not super shifty, but I see him making a lot of guys miss, good backfield blocker with enough size to do so effectively and he has pretty good hands for the passing game.

    Let's use the front end of the draft for Defense, then the back end for reserve or project offense if necessary. JMO.
  7. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    My thoughts exactly, Ric. Remember a few weeks ago Jimmors posted this chart about the average heights and weights of NFL players since 1950 and how the trend of RBs is going down in height. Apparently more teams are moving away from "tall bruiser-type RBs, in favor of smaller, quicker ones".

    Well, that might be true but when you look at the top running backs in the league, you'll notice that most of them are at least 5'11'' tall.

    • Adrian Peterson - 6'1'' - 217 lbs.
    • Marshawn Lynch - 5'11'' - 215 lbs.
    • Matt Forte - 6'2'' - 218 lbs.
    • Arian Foster - 6'1'' - 227 lbs.
    • LeSean McCoy - 5'11'' - 208 lbs.
    • Chris Johnson - 5'11'' - 203 lbs.
    • Jamaal Charles - 5'11'' - 199 lbs.
    We already got a small and quick backup RB in Ford, don't think we need another one. Unless Phil and Marc aren't happy with what this kid has done so far.
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  8. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    4Da, I'd rather have a guy like that, my personal preference is that Storm kid, but I think I saw he's starting to move up the boards. give me someone that can actually attempt to fill in for Forte should he go down then a guy to be a change of pace(unless the team isn't enthralled w/Ford anymore).

    I agree lil' b, and I'd rather take a taller kid that can add weight then a kid that isn't going to grow anymore that is maxed in his ability to add weight.
  9. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    Ric, I assume you're talking about Storm Johnson out of Central Florida? Another good choice, especially if we can pick him up as an UDFA. Sounds like he has a lot of tools, but he put the ball on the ground too damn much last year (8 fumbles). I hate fumblers! That said, ball security CAN be coached.
  10. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    It can be coached, hell Lynch in the NFL was had a fumble problem early in his career, and got MUCH better, so it can definately be taught, he has all the measurables and a lot of tools you want.
  11. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

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    Having actually seen all of White's games, I like the kid. Plays with a lot of heart and toughness as well. The WI. running game has always been a two back rotating system. He catches the ball well out of the backfield and has good vision. Never was asked to block much in that system so it depends on how Emery & Co. see using him. Could be a interest or smokescreen.
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  12. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    You got that right. The first liar doesn't stand a chance this time of year. You just never know until "the pick is in". Don't get me wrong, I dearly LOVE this time of year. In fact, I probably participate in this forum more during THIS time of year than I do during the season. However, I always laugh at myself after the draft when I think to myself, "Self, did you really believe this guy would go there". This is all just mental masturbation! :10 4 4v[1]:
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  13. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Yep. He's a much tougher little back than many would think based on the comments. He's very quick to read his blocks and burst through a hole. No he won't move the pile but he doesn't exactly go down easy either. I've been watching this kid since he was a Frosh and he's a good RB. It's only because Wisconsin uses several backs in rotation that his production isn't greater than it is. He's always shared carries with two other backs.

    Small? Walter was 5'10" 202lbs and White is 5'9" 204lbs and I don't recall anyone claiming Walter was a mini-back. White is much bigger than Garrett Wolfe so that's not an apt comparison either. This kids two biggest strengths are that he's quick and he's shifty and that he doesn't put the ball on the ground and to me that's a huge benefit he'd have over another back who may outweigh him by 20lbs but can't hold onto the ball.

    His biggest weakness is the same one most college backs have. He'll have to learn how to block better. They didn't use him that way at Wisconsin so that he'll have to pick up but again Walter was exceptional at blitz pickups at roughly the same size as White is so it's not as if he can't do it once he works it out. He may not be Matt Forte but he can catch the ball too and was used more that way than as a blocker.

    As for Ford to me he's just a smaller version of Bush with more speed. He actually runs in a similar style and has pretty good power for his size. White is somewhat the antithesis of Ford. White is the change of pace back who can get to the corner or run quick traps and he's not all that easy to bring down because he can shake and bake in the hole. He's a guy you might take towards then end of the draft not in the 3rd round like we did with Wolfe. That was a bad deal.
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  14. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Walter didn't go up againt 270-300+ lb DL's in the 70's and 80's either. Average wait of a DT in the 70-80's was 260-280, DE 250-260. MUCH different then today.

    WP was also an outlier, a freak and one of the best RB's in the history of the NFL. his workout in the offseason was leagendary, comparing him and what he did to ANYONE is unfair.

    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=493
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  15. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

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    White isn't playing against 70's / 80's DL's either so I don't get your point unless you just don't like him for some reason. Living in WI., I got to watch all his games and base my opinion of him on that. The comparison to Walter seems to be strictly size wise as well.
  16. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    The point is that while WP was the same size as White, the DL's back when Walter played were smaller, and now they are MUCH bigger, so you cannot just say well WP did it, it's an apples to oranges comparison. I perfer bigger rb's b/c they can handle the beating better from today's DL'men that are sitting at 270-330 lb's.
  17. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Any arguments as to White's size become null and void when you look at the number of successful backs in the past and the present who only go around 200lbs and some of them like Curtis Martin did go against bigger linemen very successfully at 200lb for a very long time. IMHO his weight has absolutely nothing to with it. He's not a Fullback or a Power Back. He a shifty change of pace guy who can also catch and his hand size only comes into play if he fumbles a lot. He doesn't. His height also has little do with it. He doesn't need to see over the line and it's better if he hides behind it so they can't see him as well. Michael Ford is exactly 1" taller than White.

    I'm not advocating we draft him at all and it's certainly not to be a starting RB but some of the points made here are ridiculous as it relates to James White. If Emery decides he wants a big back like Bush then that's who he'll go for but for as little as Bush was used any longer in goal line and short yardage situations that may not be what he's after either. Plus he brought back Fiametta who could play a John Kuhn type role as a short yardage back so the possibilities right now are endless. All I'm saying is that White is a good back who can play for some team in the NFL just like Montee Ball his former running mate. Ball is now the starter here in Denver and in college White was just as productive.
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  18. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

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    By your reasoning then White has (in college) done it against bigger, stronger DL's than WP did ? Still don't get your point other than you like bigger RB's. I suppose you don't like Sproles either then B/C he's not very big.
  19. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    are you comparing college to pro's?
  20. omc1969

    omc1969 Veteran

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    ßearz ßuckz:
    They both played in college and some of those became pros therefore the DL you spoke of were in college at the same time as WP and the ones White will face as a pro were also in college with him at the same time.

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