The Carolina Panthers skipped out on taking a cornerback or safety prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft, but that didn’t stop them from signing some very promising defensive backs after the draft. Cornerback Melvin White from Louisiana Lafayette is one of the talented players the Panthers signed following the draft as a UDFA. With the Panthers lacking depth in their secondary, don’t be surprised if White ends up on the final roster as a depth player or onto the practice squad for further development.
White has the versatility to play both the cornerback and free safety positions on defense. He has excellent size and is a smart, instinctive football player, something Panthers GM Dave Gettleman covets. Although White is a raw player who lacks proper technique, with the proper coaching, he could be an excellent depth player in his rookie year for the Panthers. In a few years, he could potentially challenge for a starting position in the Panthers' secondary as a free safety.
Here are Melvin White’s stats at Louisiana Lafayette, via sports-reference.com:
Here is Melvin White’s game tape against two teams - Florida and East Carolina.
Here are my film notes on White:
- Tall cornerback. Lanky frame with long arms.
- Mostly played in a zone scheme on the outside. Gave up big cushions to receivers due to slow recovery speed and stiff hips.
- Great instincts and awareness – frequently blew up run plays and screen passes.
- Doesn’t bite on play action. Shows excellent patience and discipline.
- Very capable blitzer.
- Impressive range and excellent closing speed – ideal for a cornerback in a zone scheme, but also for a free safety.
- Takes good angles in run defense, but tackling is inconsistent. Wraps up, but tackles either too high or too low, which results in some whiffed tackles.
- Stiffer hips prevent him from keeping up with smaller, shiftier receivers. Got beat on double move in the endzone against Florida.
- Will need to improve timing on jumps so he can play the ball in the air better.
- Will need to get stronger to make an impact in the run game – too easily blocked by wide receivers on run plays.
Although White played cornerback at Louisiana Lafayette, he would be better suited at the free safety position in the NFL. On tape, he lacks the ideal fluidity in his hips to quickly change directions with receivers. He also doesn’t have good recovery speed once beat he’s vertically by receivers. However, with his excellent size, range and instincts, White could translate very well to the free safety position. NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt agrees:
Melvin White CB (6-1 ¼, 203 pounds) – He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59 and 4.62 seconds and recorded a 32-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-2 broad jump. He completed the short shuttle drill in 4.53 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.36 seconds. White also recorded 12 strength lifts. He worked out as a cornerback with a notation that his best position is probably safety. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com
Here are White’s college highlights:
White is also a very hard hitter. Here are some of his biggest hits while at Louisiana Lafayette:
So, Panthers fans, what are your thoughts on UDFA Melvin White? Do you think he could make the Panthers' roster? What position do you see him playing in the NFL? Feel free to comment below!