Usually when you draft a guy with the No. 7 overall pick in the NFL Draft, you don’t have to remind him he’s good at playing football.
But that’s exactly what the Bears are doing with 2015 first-rounder Kevin White, as they try to coax the old performance out of him to justify that pick.
Via Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears are playing good cop with White at the moment, as they try to get something out of a guy who has played four games and caught 19 passes in two seasons because of leg injuries.
“We’ve got to block out the noise with him,” wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni said. “I can’t let him read papers and [listen] to the media. I just can’t. Because there is going to be some negative in there that gets in his head. And he can’t let that happen. He has to be positive. And we’ve got to go in our bunker all the time and tell him how great he is. Because he is.”
Toward that end, Azzanni made a point to pull White aside Monday to show him his college highlights. During his final season at West Virginia, White caught 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“He forgets about that sometimes,” Azzanni said. “Because of the embattled two years that he has had. . . . I wanted him to see how he owned the ball in the air, how he used to go up and just grab that ball in the air. He’s starting to do that again.”
But that seems forever ago, after knee problems and last year’s broken leg. He’s apparently running fine in camp this summer, but has yet to stand out.
White says he’s trying to remain “patient,” but no matter how gently the Bears handle him, the reality is they need him to produce. With star wideout Alshon Jeffery leaving in free agency, the Bears lack a No. 1 target for new quarterback Mike Glennon (and eventually Mitchell Trubisky).
It would be nice for White to become that kind of player, and perhaps put up some NFL highlights to match his college tape.