Name: Tre’Davious White
School: Louisiana State
Games Watched: 2015: vs Ole Miss; 2016: vs Wisconsin, vs Texas A&M, vs Florida
Overview: A native of Shreveport, LA, White was a corner and quarterback in high school. Rated a five-star recruit, he was ranked 18th overall in the nation. Started 11 of 13 games as a true freshman, and stayed starter right through his college career. If you’re interested in versatility, White even returned some punts, mostly as a sophomore and junior. Made second-team All-SEC in 2015, first-team in 2016, and was a consensus All-American in 2016.
White plays like a very ‘natural’ footballer at cornerback. He angles his hips well to be able to follow receivers from the line of scrimmage. He has the agility, footwork and awareness to follow cuts and moves that receivers make, and applies it well. White is able to react quickly and decisively to the cut, and holds tight coverage
As well as receivers, he tracks the quarterback, and shows innate instincts. On several occasions (notably the Texas A&M game), he turned round at just the right time to track the ball coming, position himself perfectly, and defend the pass. Against Wisconsin, he smoothly and easily jumped a route to intercept a pass and take it back to the house. This dovetails with his concentration – against Florida he held tight coverage on a much-extended play brilliantly. If White comes up against, say, Aaron Rodgers, that’s the sort of skill he’ll need to demonstrate.
He positions his hands well to defend the pass. White holds his arms like a coiled spring, and has good control of them when moving at speed. When the pass is coming, White can get his arm between the receiver’s with ease and control. It means he’s got himself in prime position to stop the catch.
Where White might lose out to other corners in this draft is on speed. He lacks elite top-end speed, and will see trouble from the very fastest. Against Texas A&M, Josh Reynolds repeatedly gave him kittens by turning on the burners. This might make teams nervous about putting White against #1 receivers.
He also has a tendency to be a bit handsy, and could see a fair few PI flags. That’s partly a symptom of his size (sub 6-foot, going against bigger recievers). In any case, he’ll need to play intelligently. In the Ole Miss game, he gave away PI against Laquon Treadwell when there was little chance of Treadwell making the catch. That said, he did usually focus on the ball not the man when defending passes, which will help.
The only other thing – and this might be a scheme issue – he does occasionally sit too far off in coverage, allowing slightly more short completions than you’d like. Teams will have ascertained in interviews why that was. If they’re satisfied that “coach told me to” is why, White’s stock should be fine.
The quandary teams have on draft day is often ability versus potential. White leans towards the former. He’s already an instinctive, agile, tight, quick football player who you’d happily match up on day one. I do see whoever drafts White sticking him in the slot early on, and moving him outside from Year Two. He’s going to struggle most against the very fastest receivers, but I really like him going up against the better route-runners. But he doesn’t have the athletic potential of other defensive backs in the draft like Kevin King and Obi Melifonwu. That puts a cap on White’s ceiling, though I’d put his floor very high. Still, I like his ceiling, just based on how natural a football player he seems to be.
I also think White is probably better suited to schemes that involve less press coverage. I don’t think he’s going to jam receivers as successfully as some others. But I do think he’s got all the attributes needed to carry out any zone defense, or a standard (less physical) man coverage scheme. It probably knocks him down five or six teams’ draft boards, sure. Most teams though would be delighted to such have an instinctive, natural football player in their secondary.
Grade: Mid-first round