Is Miami Dolphins QB Pat White Fantasy Relevant?

Chris DiLeoCorrespondent IMay 5, 2009

DAVIE, FL - MAY 02:  Rookie quarterback Pat White  #6 of the Miami Dolphins drops back to pass during mini camp on May 2, 2009 at the Miami Dolphins Training facility in Davie, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

The Dolphins clearly had every intention of drafting Patrick White by taking him with the 44th overall pick of the NFL Draft.  Bill Parcells and the Dolphins are ready to unleash the second stage of the Wildcat offense.

Last year, the Dolphins waited until week three in a big showdown versus the Patriots to unveil the Wildcat offense.  It completely took head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots by surprise, and Miami won an unexpected 38-13 blowout.

As the season wore on, however, opposing defenses learned that by cheating the safeties up to defend the run, they could limit the effectiveness of the Wildcat formation. Whenever Ronnie Brown lined up to receive the snap, defenses knew to make adjustments.

This is where Patrick White comes in.

In addition to his quickness and running ability, he can also accurately throw the deep ball.  Now, if the safeties cheat up too much, White will have an opportunity for one-on-one coverage deep down the field.

In fact, White impressed many scouts at the NFL Combine with his poise, strong arm, and accuracy in throwing the deep ball. 

He adds a whole new dimension to the formation, and appears to be the perfect fit to the Dolphins’ system.  The term “WildPat Offense” has already become quite popular.

There are many things to like about Patrick White.

He was a four year starter at West Virginia, who run a similar offensive style to that of the Wildcats.  This gives him plenty of experience in this type of offensive system.

In his career running that offense, he passed for 6,051 yards and 56 touchdowns.  He has exhibited good decision making in throwing only 23 interceptions during that span.

He also ran for 47 touchdowns, and his 4,480 yards rushing is the most in NCAA history for a quarterback.

What I like most about White is that he is a winner.  Perhaps the most important intangible quality a player can possess is the intense desire to win. 

White’s record as a starting quarterback for the Mountaineers is 34-8, which ranks him sixth all-time in winning percentage in NCAA history.  This includes a 7-2 record versus top 25 ranked opponents.

He is the only quarterback in NCAA history to win four bowl games, including perhaps the greatest victory in school history by leading the upset of Georgia in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.

Another intangible quality I like about White is his toughness.  He has shown throughout his career that he is willing to play through injuries.

The best example of this would be the 2007 Gator Bowl versus Georgia Tech.

With the team trailing 35-17 in the third quarter, White overcame neck, ankle, and wrist injuries to lead West Virginia to a 38-35 comeback victory, earning his first of three consecutive bowl game MVP honors.

Despite the opinions of some analysts that White would change positions upon entering the NFL, Dolphins head coach Tony Sporano has indicated that White will not be practicing any other position other than quarterback.

With Chad Pennington atop the depth chart, and Chad Henne as his backup, it appears White's playing time may be limited to a situational role.

From a fantasy perspective, this may not seem an ideal situation to have a quarterback who plays on a limited basis.

This should not prevent anyone from taking a late-round flier on White, however.

While I do plan on making sure I draft a quality No. 1 fantasy quarterback, there are several reasons why I would consider using a late-round selection on Patrick White.

The upside is undeniable.  Even if White is taking snaps for only 10-12 plays a game, there is a lot of potential for fantasy points being that he could be running, passing, or perhaps, even catching the football.

Consider that most of the top fantasy wide receivers in the NFL get an average of only eight targets per game.  In other words, they are fantasy relevant despite limited touches per game.

The same should apply to White.  When he is in the lineup, it is almost certain he will be handling the football.  I think he may do enough in the Wildcat offense to score significant fantasy points on a weekly basis.

In addition, his athleticism gives him the potential to score a long touchdown either running or throwing the football on any given play.

Finally, Pennington has had a history of injury problems.  He has played in only two 16- game seasons since taking over as starting quarterback for the Jets in 2002.

If Pennington becomes injured, that would leave unproven Henne next in line to start at quarterback.

It would seem likely in this scenario that the Dolphins would lean a little more heavily on the Patrick White led Wildcat offense.  It is also possible that White may even surpass Henne on the depth chart, giving him the starting job on every play.

Ultimately I like the abilities, attitude, and winning mentality of Patrick White.

I also have a strong feeling that Miami has plenty of tricks up their sleeve for the 2009 season.  I believe they will unveil a successful and new dimensional Wildcat Offense that will surprise the NFL.  Never, ever underestimate Bill Parcells.

I am more than willing to take a chance drafting a player who is in charge of such an offense.

That player is Patrick White.