Eddie Whitley may not have the pure skills of Harrison Smith or Mark Barron, but he still has the ability to be a factor in the NFL.
Whitley was the leader of a Virginia Tech defense that ranked seventh in points against in the country last season. The Hokies' passing defense was arguably one of the best in college football in 2011, mainly due to the outstanding play of Whitley, who recorded 83 tackles, four pass deflections and two interceptions in 14 games.
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING
CBS Sports ranked Whitley as the 17th best free safety in this year's class and projected him to be a late-round pick or to go undrafted. CBS Sports provided the following analysis.
Can play free safety, rover, either cornerback spot or in the nickel package if needed … A smart, talented player who the coaches would like to see make more plays.
Whitley had a very impressive pro day. He showed off his blazing speed with a 4.42 40-yard dash time.
EXPECTED ROOKIE IMPACT AND POTENTIAL
The Virginia Tech product has good size (6'1" 184 pounds), and possesses good agility. However, he lacks the pass coverage skills and tackling ability to be a consistent starting safety at the next level.
Whitley will have trouble making the final roster come preseason in his rookie campaign. He could surprise though. He is a hardworking player who could do a lot with little playing time.