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2020 NFL Draft Profile: Michigan State wide receiver Cody White

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NCAA Football: Illinois at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 NFL Draft kicks off in just two days (begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday and runs through Saturday). We move along in our draft prospect profile series with Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Cody White.

White, somewhat surprisingly, decided to forgo his senior season in East Lansing and enter his name into the NFL Draft. As of right now, he is a fringe player in terms of if he will hear his name (virtually) called this week, but let us break down White’s chances and what he could bring to an NFL franchise.

Profile:

Name: Cody White
Position: wide receiver
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 217 pounds
Draft Projection: Late Day Three (sixth or seventh rounds) or Priority Undrafted Free Agent


NFL Scouting Combine Measurables:

40-yard dash: 4.66 seconds (43rd among WRs)
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches (30th among WRs)
Broad jump: 120 inches (33rd among WRs)
Three-cone drill: 7.19 seconds (15th among WRs)
20-yard shuttle: 4.52 seconds (21st among WRs)
*Did not participate in bench press

It was an overall poor showing for White in terms of speed and agility drills for the wide receiver position. His 40-yard dash time was faster than just two other wide receiver prospects (out of 45) and his agility numbers were also low. He did show decent explosiveness, though. White also looked fluid in catching drills at the Combine. Even if his performance didn’t blow scouts away, just being invited to the Combine this year gives White a distinct advantage over those who weren’t, as pro days and individual workouts were halted amidst the COVID-19 crisis. However, that also means White didn’t have the opportunity to improve on any of these metrics.

While White didn’t necessarily hit his goals in Indianapolis, he is confident about his performance there and thought he fared well in positional drills. He also met with representatives of every NFL team at the Combine. Here is what he recently told MLive:

“I trained with higher numbers than I did at the combine but I’m still very happy with the times and the numbers I put up at the combine. And in my position drills, I feel like I did a great job in those as well. Running routes is something that I do naturally, and catching the football, so I feel like that was a really good part of the combine for me. All in all, I feel like it was a great time there and I feel like I did a great job.”

With those low metrics, there isn’t much mystery as to why White received a very low Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of just 3.55. This puts White firmly in the 35.5 percentile for all wide receivers. But White’s game was never really built on speed or elusiveness. He can play the role of a possession wide receiver with a big frame in the NFL.


Statistics and Accolades

Via MSUSpartans.com:

Games Played: 35 (26 starts)
Receptions: 143 (seventh in MSU history)
Yards: 1,967 (12th in MSU history)
Touchdowns: 12
Yards Per Catch: 13.8
Yards Per Game: 56.2
Rushing Attempts: 11
Rushing Yards: 63
Rushing Touchdowns: one
Yards Per Rush: 5.7
All-Purpose Yards: 2,115

  • Earned honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media and coaches in 2019
  • Named to the Big Ten Network’s All-Freshman first-team in 2017
  • Holds MSU true freshman single-season receiving yards record (490 yards)
  • Led Spartans in receiving yards in both 2018 and 2019
  • Ranks seventh in program history with 143 receptions
  • Ranks 12th in program history with 1,267 receiving yards
  • Tied for 16th in program history in receiving touchdowns (12)
  • Five career 100-yard receiving games
  • Ranks seventh in program history with 4.1 receptions per game
  • Won MSU’s Tommy Love Award (most improved player) for offense as a junior in 2019
  • Won MSU’s Danziger Award for most “Outstanding Detroit Area Player” as a junior in 2019

Overview:

White came in as a freshman and immediately found a valuable role, catching 35 passes for a MSU true freshman record 490 receiving yards, along with four touchdowns. He then led the Spartans in receiving yards as both a sophomore (despite breaking his left hand and missing four games) and a junior. Had he not elected to leave early, White would have probably finished in the top-three or top-five in Michigan State history in various receiving categories. He has elite size at 6-foot-3, 217 pounds, which will be attractive to NFL scouts. However, his speed, acceleration off the line of scrimmage and overall athleticism are all concerns for NFL personnel members. White’s testing numbers were low, but he seems to be the kind of player that is more of a gamer, compared to testing well in shorts and a T-shirt. NFL Draft analysts are awfully low on White, but according to the wide receiver himself, NFL teams are still high on him (via the Detroit Free Press):

“Teams have all told me positive things — that I’m still high on their board and to just keep working on my craft. They said they like a lot of things, like my catch radius, the way I can track the football, my catching ability, the way that I run routes. A lot of teams really just told me to work on my speed. But I feel like my game speed speaks for itself.”

I think his decision to enter the Draft early surprised a lot of people, and there’s no guarantee he will be selected. A team could take a flier on him late in the sixth round or seventh round, but if not, he will surely be signed as an undrafted free agent. Another positive White has going for him is his NFL pedigree. His father, Sheldon (who most recently served under Mark Dantonio as executive director of player personnel and recruiting at MSU), played in the NFL for six seasons, and was also a front office executive for the Detroit Lions for several years. This most likely means the two of them have inside information on the younger White’s stock heading into the Draft. He knows he has something to prove, but is ready to work for his dream.


What scouts, analysts and coaches are saying about White:

“White looks comfortable getting through his routes and making catches in space against zone or off coverage. However, once he’s pressed by strength and athleticism, it tends to come unraveled. He has NFL size, but had better learn elite level hand-work to help slap his way past press because his release isn’t very sudden and a committed defender can ride on him for the full five yards. There are clearly ball skills that work in his favor, but the lack of functional speed and quickness too often turn him into a coverage magnet. Even if he tests well, it might be a hard sell since plus athletic traits don’t show up often enough on tape.” — NFL.com Draft Analyst, Lance Zierlein

“He just has a lot of drops when I studied him. “Thought he was more of a one-speed player.” NFL Network Draft Analyst, Daniel Jeremiah

“Should have stayed in school.” — Anonymous wide receivers coach for AFC team


Highlights: