Prior to the 2015 draft, Kevin White and Amari Cooper were regarded as the best two prospects at the receiver position. Scouts saw Cooper as ready to make an immediate impact, and they regarded White as a more raw, long-term prospect.
They didn’t expect White’s development to require four full seasons.
With his career marred by injuries, White has made limited contributions. The Bears, who had made him the seventh overall pick in the draft, let him leave via free agency. White now hopes to get his career on track as a member of the Cardinals, and he knows that it will take work.
“Throughout my career and life, I’ve learned a totally different way — [Cardinals consultant Jerry Sullivan] would say ‘bad habits,'” White recently said, via the team’s official website. “That’s been years, so it will be hard to break the bad habits, but every day we are getting closer. It’ll take time, but I’m sure by the time the season comes I’ll have everything down.”
Despite his draft pedigree, White is largely overlooked. And he’s fine with that.
“I don’t take it personally,” White said. “If a player missed a year, that player is forgotten about. Out of sight, out of mind. For me it was three years in a row, and then last year happened.”
Last year, White was healthy but couldn’t get on the field much with the Bears, appearing in nine regular-season games and catching four passes for 92 yards.
“Something like that is something you can’t ever forget,” White said regarding the years marred by injury. “I think it shaped me into the man I am today, mentally and physically. Do I wish things were different and I didn’t get hurt? Of course. I’d be more successful. But I think it showed me some things within myself, and with the people that are truly in my corner, how much this means to them and to me.”
The Cardinals have plenty of faith in White, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Cardinals.
“That’s what we have seen: Hard working, focused, wants to be great,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “He has a lot to prove obviously, but he has a great skillset. That big and that fast, we’re excited to see what he can be.”
So is everyone else who remembers what White was supposed to be when he became a Bear. He’s running out of chances to get to his ceiling, whatever it may be.