Kerrith Whyte Jr. 5’ 10 “ 200 lbs RB #6
How can you tell when a player is a late round draft pick or a UDFA? How about a junior RB who declared early for the NFL Draft, played in 37 games. and never started a single one of them? That player is Kerrith Whyte is, but that is not the whole story.
He was not invited to the Combine even though he had better stats than some of the other invitees. He ran the ball over 230 times and had 81 kickoff returns with two TDs. He is bigger, faster (by a lot), with more athletic ability than the player who started in front of him (and is the #89 player on my Draft board).
Whyte is a player with great speed. His pro day timed him at 4.36 in the 40 which would have made him the fastest RB at the Combine by a fairly wide margin. His athletic accolades don’t end there as he had a 11’ broad jump which would have been the best as a RB at the Combine. His 42” vert jump which would have ranked him #1 at the combine by 2 inches over any other RB.
So Whyte is the fastest, most explosive player with serious hops who wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine. He had 335 touches in his 3 year career so it is not like he was lightly used. The problem was he was behind a productive RB who had over 760 touches and 67 TDs. They both had gaudy yards per carry averages.
The point being that there seems to be little drop off from a player I ranked #89 and a player who I ranked much lower. They have different skillsets, but they both have skill.
Here you can watch the first kickoff return for a TD in FAU history.
Once he past the 35 yard line with no one in front of him he was off to the races. No one was going to run him down from behind. It wasn’t like he just ran untouched through a line. He took a hit, bounced off, and was on his way. These were the traits that make him an attractive late round pick. Unlike the Jets’ other backup RBs, he has superior return skills.
This second play is an RPO so the left side of the line is run blocking, and the right side is pass blocking. There is no designed hole on this play so Whyte has to pick his way through. He isn’t short, but he has a low center of gravity and very good contact balance. This would be his version of a power run. He breaks two tackles on his way to the end zone.
The next set of two plays are against UCF and Oklahoma which are very good teams. On the first play he runs a wheel route and shows he can catch more than a little dump off pass. He is very elusive and sets up his moves well in advance even while he is at top speed.
The second is just a inside run that was not there so he pops all the way outside until he spies an opening and slides into the end zone.
The next play is quick, and I only show it for two reasons. First it lets you know the first kicoff TD was not a fluke and second is his returning technique. A good returner gets his speed going. As he approaches the mosh pit of players where the two sides meet he will slow down just slightly. He then picks an alley way he thinks is best and accelerates through it.
He doesn’t bounce it out wide. He just hits it straight ahead and gets the most he can get. Some player will always take the kickoff wide because they fear the straight on collision. Whyte uses the best method for returning kicks. He has no fear, and once he gets in the open no one is going to catch him.
This next play I only used to show him reading the play. If you notice, he gets the handoff to a play going to his right. He starts that way, reads the the blocking, and sees a crease that formed to his left.
He uses a nice little jump cut to get himself started then explodes through the hole for an 80 yard TD. He won’t get many of these plays in the NFL, but he should get a couple in his career. They are game changing type plays. Anytime he touches the ball he is capable of doing exactly this, which makes him valuable.
Here he is again breaking a long run. He has home run ability anytime he has the ball in his hands.
The next play is another long run that is just well-blocked. Whyte causes players to take bad angles because they can‘t adjust to his speed. You can see he waits for his blocks to develop then bursts through the crease and into the clear.
The last play is just a read option that he takes to the house through a tiny crease. Again you can see him hesitate when he gets the ball. As soon as he sees a crease develop he hits the afterburners and rockets through the hole.
I recently read where Hollywood Brown may be the first WR selected on Thursday because of his speed and game breaking ability. That may be true, but Whyte gives you all the same elements plus stellar special teams play at the cost of (I’m guessing) a 6th round pick. Plus he is a player with only 335 college touches and no known injury history.
He is also not some little dude. He has nice size for a RB. I don’t think he could handle a heavy workload, but 10 touches a game would be plenty. He needs work in pass protection, and he only had 22 receptions (although he was a backup) so he will need to be coached on that also.
I know the Jets have 4 RBs right now, but none of those guys have this kind of speed and special teams value. These are things the team might need considering it lost its Pro-Bowl return guy in free agency. Plus I would think McGuire and Cannon probably have some practice squad eligibility left so they would be there in case of an injury if someone else doesn’t claim them.
I think the kid fills a need and can be had for a minimal investment.
What do you think?