Please hear me out before shooting the messenger. This doesn’t define my opinion whether or not the Los Angeles Rams should draft a running back during the 2019 NFL Draft. Kerrith Whyte Jr. is one of a handful of prospects that are meeting with the Rams for a pre-draft meeting.
That said, after reviewing the film, I can see why the Rams are showing interest in Whyte. The question now becomes should they draft him?
College stats and honors:
2018: 866 rushing yards, 160 receiving yards, 10 total touchdowns and 6.5 yards per rushing attempt.
Career: 1,358 rushing yards, 227 receiving yards, 13 total touchdown and 5.9 yards per rushing attempt.
Honors: Conference USA Second Team as a kick returner (2018), Conference USA Honorable Mention as a running back (2018) and eighth in program history in rushing touchdowns.
In short, Whyte possesses a ton of stamina. Once his motor gets going, he’s not an easy man to take down. His secondary burst of speed is elite. This is tough to find in any player, much less in the 2019 NFL Draft. Matching this with his stout 5’10” frame, and this is a beast of a running back. Whyte’s explosion is just ridiculously quick. At his Pro Day, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds. Adding a 42-inch vertical jump may also help his draft status.
Keeping all of this mind, he also is one of the more elusive running backs in the NFL Draft. He makes defenders look silly at times with just a simple change in direction. He may not have been the Owls’ feature back, but Florida Atlantic did benefit from his services along with Devin Singletary.
Playing in a weak conference like Conference USA did make his highlight reels seem better than he might be. He possesses undeniable talent, but it’s difficult to identify how much coaching he will need since he didn’t see elite defenders. Because of this, it will be harder for him to break certain habits like playing too high. Defenders in the NFL will exploit this habit and will make him pay for not playing low enough.
The other thing to consider is he’s not the only talented running back on FAU’s roster. This means he often did have fresh legs rotating with Singletary. This may not be a huge deal since some NFL teams do run a running back by committee approach to their offensive scheme. But, he may need to train a little harder to make the impact that other teams expect in a draft prospect.
Expected Draft Round:
This one is tough to predict. Whyte truly did himself a disservice by entering the 2019 NFL Draft. I believe if he stayed one more year at FAU, he could have been a top running back prospect. Still, I think NFL scouts are showing plenty of interest. I expect him to be a Day 3 prospect, maybe in the fourth or fifth round. Whyte could sneak into the third round if he generates enough interest.
I don’t believe Whyte should be a priority, but if he’s a Day 3 prospect, I wouldn’t oppose selecting him in rounds 4-7. The Rams may not be looking for starting running back or even an immediate back up, but more competition is a good thing. His potential may be better than that of Justin Davis.