Former WVU quarterback (boy, it hurts to write that) Pat White is in Mobile, Ala., practicing for Saturday's Senior Bowl, a big chance for NFL draft-hopefuls to showcase their abilities to league scouts.
White, who is college football's all-time quarterback rushing leader, is trying to show he can be a quarterback in the NFL.
ESPN's Todd McShay is having none of it, despite White's 332-yard, three-touchdown performance in the Meineke Care Care Bowl victory over UNC. From McShay's reports, White has no chance of making it as an NFL quarterback and is blowing his chance to make a living as a wide receiver or return man. Here is McShay's ESPN Insider report on White's first three days of practice:
Monday (1/19/09): It was apparent from the start of practice that White did not appear comfortable from under center. He stumbled on a few occasions during simple hand-off drills and his entire rhythm and timing as a passer was thrown off when he was forced to drop and read coverage simultaneously. His overall accuracy as a passer left much to be desired. He sailed one pass over the head of TE Shawn Nelson, who was running a crossing route against air. Later he short-hopped a comeback route during one-on-one drills. And then he under threw a vertical route, which resulted in an interception for San Jose State CB Coye Fancies. Making matters worse, White checked in at a mere 6-feet tall and 190 pounds during this morning's weigh-in. How many quarterbacks with those measurables are starting in the NFL right now? Exactly. The wise decision for White is to get involved as a receiver and return man moving forward. He did not catch one pass, kick or punt during Monday's practice, which is a wasted opportunity in our opinion.
Tuesday (1/20/09): White was able to calm some of his critics today by looking much more comfortable under center. He was able to fit the ball in tight windows throughout practice. White also showed accuracy throwing on the run, rolling out to the right and throwing a strike to Southern Miss TE Shawn Nelson, which can be extremely tough for a left-handed quarterback like White. We are still not ready to say White can line up as a quarterback at the NFL level, though. He continues to take too long getting the ball out of his hands and fails to show the proper touch on his throws. This was magnified during the seven-on-seven period when White threw a low fastball on a skinny post that obviously needed more trajectory and softer touch. The ball was easily intercepted by Ole Miss OLB Ashlee Palmer.
Wednesday (1/21/09): White threw spirals and showed a smooth delivery for the most part, but there is no getting around the fact that he is simply not accurate enough to play quarterback in the NFL. While he did throw spirals, the nose of the ball often sunk and when the coaches put the 10-foot net up for him to throw over his accuracy fell off even more. At his height, his release point is just too low. In the seven-on-seven period, White flat-out missed wide-open Ole Miss WR Mike Wallace in the end zone. This was a trend on Wednesday as he often looked to be aiming and feathering the ball in order to prevent himself from making a mistake. As a result, his passes often lacked the RPMs needed to be successful at the next level. On a side note, many think that White needs to transition to wide receiver and we agree. However, when observing him catch the ball as he was waiting to take his next rep at quarterback White didn't look natural with his hands. That begs the question of whether White can catch the ball well enough to play any position other than quarterback. At this point, though, he needs to try because he has not done himself any favors behind center this week.