INDIANAPOLIS — Fear not.
In this year’s NFL Draft, there’s at least one prospect available that can slow down the dynamic tight ends that pose problems for most of the league’s defenses.
He’s 6-feet tall, 237 pounds — and on Sunday, he showed off 4.42 speed in the 40-yard dash, which was the best time among inside linebackers.
Here’s one evaluation of the potential cornerstone piece of an NFL defense:
“If we’re having trouble with a tight end in our zone coverage [who is] catching a lot of balls, you can stick Devin White on him and he’ll go stop him.”
Oh, yeah — that evaluation just happens to come from Devin White himself.
So add confidence to the Butkus Award winner’s resume to go along with his 7.5 sacks, 256 total tackles and 25.5 tackles for loss over the last two seasons.
The Broncos, it seems, are impressed enough to do their due diligence at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine; White said Saturday he completed an interview with the Broncos.
“I feel like I put everything together,” White said. “I came out here and I’m ready to compete. I’ve been doing a lot of formal interviews, and I’ve been knocking them out the park. So I’m just doing everything right.
“It’s my selling point, and it’s facts. It’s documented, it’s wrote down. I just want to express it in person to them and just let them see it for themselves, because LSU got the full brand of it for three years and they loved it. Now it’s time to take it to another team.”
If that team winds up being the Broncos, White said he thinks the team already has the pieces in place to help him find success as a rookie.
He pointed to Head Coach Vic Fangio’s ability to help him improve as one appealing factor — and then there are the players he would line up alongside.
“It’d be great,” White said. “From a football standpoint, just knowing that they’ve got Bradley Chubb on one side and the GOAT — Von Miller — on one side. A lot of people wouldn’t be keyed in on me, and I’m going to be the sneaky player that’s going to make a lot of plays in the middle. That would be a great fit for me.”
White said his speed, attitude and leadership help make him the top inside linebacker in this year’s draft, and he spent the week in Indianapolis trying to show teams “you’re going to get 140 percent out of me.”
That relentless motor is comparable to the 2017 Butkus Award winner, Roquan Smith. The former Georgia linebacker, of course, spent his rookie year playing in Chicago for Fangio.
“I see a lot of similarities in my game and Roquan’s game,” White said. “He’s a guy with a high motor, as well. He makes sideline-to-sideline tackles. He gets in between the tackles. He’s great in coverage. He’s an athletic guy. Our measurables are about the same. We both won the Butkus Award, so that’s about the same. We both played in the SEC. I led the SEC in tackles when he was there. I feel like he’s a great player, and he just had a phenomenal rookie year and I need to do the same thing this upcoming season.”
If White winds up as the Broncos’ first-round selection, Fangio could help him achieve similar feats to Smith, who was in the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
That’s welcome news — even to a player who said he’s done everything right in Indianapolis.
“He’s going to progress your game, because he wants to win Super Bowls,” White said. “I want to win Super Bowls. I’ve never won a championship in my life, so that’s my goal for the NFL.”