Kyzir White started his collegiate career at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pennsylvania. White followed in his older brother’s, Bears wide receiver Kevin White, footsteps for his final two seasons at West Virginia. His two years in Morgantown were certainly productive. White finished with 152 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 3 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and 9 passes defensed.
White has a unique skill set for a safety. WVU utilized his versatility all over the defense. He would guard the slot, protect the center field, blitz, and join the box on run downs. Let’s dive into his film to check out if he’d be a good fit for the Panthers.
White is a heat seeking missile. This can be a good and bad thing, but White is smart enough to control his speed to make run stops.
White run blitzes from the slot to make this run stop. White is under control, but he also takes a short path.
White joins the defense in the box. He eludes the block by using his athleticism to make his way into the backfield. This became a common theme when watching White. He attacks alleys with smart instincts, but also impressive athleticism.
On first watch, this looks like White over pursuing the rusher. However, he gets the outside wide receiver to chase him which ruins the assignment of the blockers. White’s teammates converge to the ball shortly after. The rush was minimal.
White applies his entire repertoire of run defense here. He identifies the run, shoots downhill, and forces a fumble. He is a play maker, so when he’s forcing turnovers then his value as a run defender increases.
This isn’t a rushing attempt, but it’s an area where White can improve. He had some trouble getting off blocks for a few reasons. White takes the wrong alley, but he has to shed the block with better technique. For now, he was able to use is athleticism to evade blockers which is fine. However, if he truly wants to become an elite run stopping safety in the NFL he has to improve his ability to defeat blocks.
White played the “Spur” role in West Virginia’s defense. He was essentially a safety/linebacker hybrid. This has led many to assume that his qualities as a pass defender lack. There are some areas where he could improve, but I was left impressed by his coverage abilities.
White mainly lined up in the slot. He would protect the hook portion in zone coverage. Kyzir is in the slot to the near side. He does a nice job of passing off the vertical routes while keeping his eyes on the quarterback.
White’s outstanding instincts are on full display here. He drops into his zone, but as soon as the quarterback turns his head to target the outside receiver White flips his hips to prevent the completion.
White usually wasn’t asked to protect the center field, but he showed some range on this play. He starts off in the slot, but quickly rotates to the middle of the field to match with James Washington’s vertical route. The throw was inaccurate, but White did show he can transition from short to deep.
Due to White aligning in the slot for the majority of his snaps, he was asked to defend receivers in man coverage. White, initially, takes an inside leverage position but he demonstrates his fluid hips to stick on the inside hip of the wide receiver.
This rep showed that White still has issues anticipating routes. He takes the same inside leverage position, but his instincts lead him the wrong way.
West Virginia built pattern matching concepts to deal with the complex schemes of Big 12 offenses. Iowa State has trips wide receivers to the near side with a stack alignment between two receivers. White matches with anything vertical. He picks up the receiver very well. He gets inside his hip and runs downfield with him.
This is a similar alignment by Iowa State. White again picks up the vertical route, but this time he struggles to match due to the inside stem of the receiver’s routes. White opens his hips too early, which puts him in a trail position. This is a difficult assignment for any defender, but White has to show more balance and leverage in his movements.
Fit with Carolina and grade
If the Panthers were to draft Kyzir White, he would slot into the strong safety role. Under Ron Rivera, the Panthers have done quite a bit of rotation between their safeties as far as roles go on the field. White wouldn’t be isolated to just protecting the box. He would be asked to play the deep portions of the field too. His skill set as a run defender and some of his coverage qualities should translate just fine as a day one starter in Carolina’s defense.
- 95+: HOF talent
- 90-94.99: Future All Pro
- 80-89.99: Future Pro Bowler
- 70-79.99: Day 1 starter
- 60-69.99: Potential year 1 starter/year 2 potential starter
- 55-59.99: Potential to make a roster
- 54.99 lower: Training Camp/depth player
My final grade for White is 76.88, which amounts to a day one starter.
What about you, Panthers fans? Do you think the Panthers should draft Kyzir White?