Las Vegas Raiders LB Javin White played all over the field in college and high school and his versatility makes him an intriguing prospect
There has been a great deal of buzz among Raider Nation about undrafted free agent Javin White joining the Las Vegas Raiders. The Oakland native played his high school ball at McClymonds High, a mere 15-minute drive to the Oakland Coliseum and went on to play at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It seems almost destiny that much like the Raiders, White left Oakland for Las Vegas in search of greener pastures.
Speaking of greener pastures, Javin White covered just about every blade of green grass for the Rebels. After playing wide receiver at McClymonds, he started his career in Vegas as a defensive back but like fellow Raiders rookie Tanner Muse, was asked to play linebacker as well during his senior season. White excelled in that role and finished his senior year with 79 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, and 10 passes defended.
White’s size at 6’3”, 205lbs is more in line with a safety at the NFL level but again, like Muse, he will be asked to put on some weight by the Raiders if he makes the final roster. Even if he does add some mass, it will be White’s cover skills learned as a safety that will help him excel at the next level.
In this wide-open era of the NFL, linebackers are asked to cover more than ever, and it may be more important to have the speed and athleticism for that than the size to fill holes in the running game.
According to NFL.com, White’s strengths suggest that he “reads keys and following them to the runner” and that he showed “better tackle consistency than expected”. On the flip side they point out that his weaknesses include “below average” coverage instincts and that he “struggles to stay connected in man coverage”.
He does have the athleticism and straight line speed to stay with NFL athletes as his 40-time, according to DraftScout.com, was between 4.44 and 4.6. That should help him stick on the roster on special teams where he can make an impact solely with speed and desire.
Those fluidity and coverage concerns are some of the reasons why he went undrafted along with some concerns about his nature as a tweener. However, the Raiders clearly saw enough from his tape and his measurables to bring him in and see if they can take his raw talent and mold it him into a productive player.
The Raiders have also not shied away from taking chances on undrafted players and giving them room to grow and develop. In fact, the current starting Sam linebacker Nicholas Morrow was in White's position just three years ago. With a top heavy depth chart at linebacker we should expect the Raiders to give White every chance to succeed and make the roster but he will have to work his tail off to do so.