Question of the Week: Does Pat White Deserve a Shot at Quarterback?

Dino NicandrosAnalyst IFebruary 25, 2009

West Virginia star quarterback Patrick White has a decision to make.

He wants to play quarterback at the next level, but scouts project him as a receiver/returner.

Over the last four years, this versatile athlete has led West Virginia to 34 wins during his tenure as well as four consecutive bowl victories, three of which he was named MVP.

White has thrown for 6,049 yards and 56 touchdowns over his career, completing 64% of his passes, while running for 4,480 yards and 47 touchdowns (NCAA record for a QB).

White is often considered perhaps the best athlete in the history of West Virginia athletics, which is an honor in itself. 

All of these amazing accolades are wasted on NFL scouts, however. 

Scouts aren't as interested in a player's gaudy numbers as they are in a particular skill set and physical build.  White isn't particularly big at 6'0, 195 lbs. Scouts worry that White's size will inhibit his ability to see over the line of scrimmage and deliver accurate passes consistently.

Scouts also take in to account how a player will adapt to the professional level in terms of learning the playbook and adjusting to the overall speed of the game. White ran Rich Rodriguez's version of the spread option for three years, an offense that's unique to the college game and is never seen in the pros. 

He often operated out of the shotgun and very seldom took snaps from under center, something most NFL offensive coordinators expect their QB to do a lot of the time.

White must learn to become a true quarterback, one that stands in the pocket and delivers accurate, on-time passes every play.  He was never forced to throw the ball a lot as his coaches allowed him to make use of his rare running abilities to make plays.

There is no denying White's amazing athleticism, but would he be able to utilize it if he played at quarterback at the next level? At his size, if tucked it and ran it every other play his body wouldn't hold up through an entire season. If he wants to use his speed to his advantage every play, why not switch over to slot receiver?

I do agree with scouts in the fact that White is small in stature and would have to learn an entirely new offensive scheme to become successful at QB.  He wouldn't be able to rely on his raw athleticism as much as he did in college.

However, I truly believe Pat White can play quarterback at the next level. He possesses that "IT" factor that not many player have coming out of college. He has great leadership ability as well as a very active arm that can put the ball in to tight spots if his foot work is correct.

He'll be drafted anywhere from round three to round five in the draft, but I see a team taking White's unique skills and using him as a quarterback in the wild-cat formation while they develop his skills to become a full time starter.