Patriots select Keion White DE with pick #46

The defense is going to look much better.

Now let's do some fixin' on the offense.
He appeared angry when shown on TV after the pick. Wonder what that was about. I could be reading him wrong.

From theAthletic

NFL Draft grades for every pick of Round 2 and 3: Steelers, Patriots, Titans impress

46. New England Patriots: Keion White, Edge, Georgia Tech

In typical Bill Belichick fashion, the Patriots continue to get great value. In White, they picked up one of the top remaining pass rushers on a unit that put up 54 sacks.

A late bloomer, White was a six-year player with four seasons at Old Dominion and the past two for Georgia Tech. White began his career as a tight end and played two seasons at that position before shifting to defensive end in 2019, where he picked up 19 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. His 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic, then he transferred to Tech and played in only four games in 2021 because of an ankle dislocation. Last season White was a machine with 11 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss.

White (6-4 7/8, 285) has long arms (34 inches) and wingspan (80) mostly played outside the tackle but generated 30 hurries last year for Georgia Tech to go along with his seven sacks. White has plenty of room to grow despite his college experience and can play in multiple schemes because of his size.

Grade: A-

The Patriots had the “currency,” as Matt Groh called it, to move up in the second round but chose to sit back and use the 46th pick. There, they continued to focus on the defense, selecting Georgia Tech edge rusher Keion White, a former tight end who broke out with 7 1/2 sacks a year ago. That followed their first-round pick of cornerback Christian Gonzalez, and they have now bolstered the two most important positions on defense.

No. 47 overall. This is appropriate value for the Patriots based on Dane Brugler’s rankings. Brugler had White as the ninth-best edge rusher in this draft class, just behind Will McDonald IV, whom the Jets took Thursday with the 15th pick.

Still, New England could have gone in a few directions with this pick. Massive Ohio State offensive tackle Dawand Jones was still available, as were wide receivers Josh Downs and Jalin Hyatt and tight end Darnell Washington. But Bill Belichick stuck with the defense, adding White, a 24-year-old from Raleigh, N.C.


White began playing football when he was 5 but started his high school career on the JV team since he was only 150 pounds. He made varsity as a sophomore and was teammates at Garner High with Bills running back Nyheim Hines. White initially played linebacker and center, then moved to tight end and defensive end as a senior.

He didn’t have any scholarship offers his senior year and contemplated joining the military. But offers arrived after the season from FCS schools, and White decided to play tight end at Old Dominion. His first two seasons as a blocking tight end were underwhelming, so he moved to the defensive line in 2019 and broke out, leading his team in tackles for loss.

When Old Dominion’s 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic, White transferred to Georgia Tech. Before he played his first down there, White slipped during a pickup basketball game and dislocated his ankle (he popped it back into place himself). Once he was fully healthy in 2022, White led the team in sacks (7 1/2) and tackles for loss (14). He’s 6 feet 4, 285 pounds and completed 30 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the scouting combine.

How he fits

As Brugler wrote in his scouting report, White is “a scheme-proof prospect.” He could’ve played on the outside in a 4-3 defense, but in Belichick’s 3-4 setup, White will play a role similar to the one played by Josh Uche.

Perhaps that’s a useful comp for White. Uche was also a second-round pick with pass-rush upside who needed time to develop. After a quiet first two years with the Pats, Uche broke out for 11 1/2 sacks last season. Unlike Uche, White has more upside in the interior of the defensive line and is a player with position flexibility whom Belichick can move around.

Rookie impact

White doesn’t project as a starter in Belichick’s defense this season, but he should be able to learn from savvy veterans Matthew Judon and Deatrich Wise Jr. For 2023, White’s role will probably be as a rotational edge rusher.

Perhaps more important is the long-term impact White can have, filling a need that’s to come soon. Judon will be 31 this season and has two years remaining on his contract. Uche is entering the final year of his deal. This gives the Patriots a long-term option at edge rusher with uncertainty ahead for Judon and Uche. New England is “getting someone who is willing to improve their game,” White said Friday.

Depth-chart impact

Even if White slides in as a Day 1 backup, it’s hard to have enough cornerbacks and pass rushers in today’s NFL. Those are the positions the Patriots addressed in the first two rounds.

Fast evaluation​

There’s a lot to like in White. Scouts rave about his work ethic and how coachable he is. He seems like a good culture fit. (“I’m not too big on the glitz and glamor of football,” he said.) He has only played on the defensive line for three years, so he presumably has a lot of room to improve.

But he is 24 (only a few months younger than Uche) and played only 16 games at the Division I level. The bigger surprise is that the Patriots chose to address their already-good defense with their first two picks. One would think reinforcements are coming for the offense soon.
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he's one i saw a predraft sitdown of a few weeks ago and thought, "i like this kid." hope we get the story on his draft reaction. maybe he was just overwhelmed.
I think he was pissed off at dropping to the 2nd round. And it was like, finally. It was a very human reaction imho. He’ll have a nice big chip on his shoulder now which is great! No better place to come to.
I think he was pissed off at dropping to the 2nd round. And it was like, finally. It was a very human reaction imho. He’ll have a nice big chip on his shoulder now which is great! No better place to come to.

Could be. Hope so.

I can't imagine BB would be interested in a slot receiver who doesn't block well so early in the draft.


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For the first two rounds, Bill found himself looking at the best player on the board at that time. That’s a nice place to be. Players who should have been taken earlier. We have a very good defense building here, the front 7 and the backfield.
For the first two rounds, Bill found himself looking at the best player on the board at that time. That’s a nice place to be. Players who should have been taken earlier. We have a very good defense building here, the front 7 and the backfield.

Yes, I agree. But now it's time to turn attention to the offense to help Mac succeed. Let's go!

“What really sticks out is the fact that he was a guy that valued self-improvement,” Knight said. “I never had to push him to get better at this or get better at that. He’s going to ask the right type of questions, and he improved on his own. So that made him pretty easy to coach.”

White is the top draft candidate from Tech in the draft, which begins Thursday with the first round, continues Friday with the second and third rounds and concludes Saturday with the fourth through seventh rounds.

Along with White, linebackers Ayinde Eley and Charlie Thomas, wide receivers E.J. Jenkins and Malachi Carter, running back Hassan Hall and offensive lineman William Lay all took part in Tech’s Pro Day on March 16 in front of NFL coaches and scouts. After White, Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline projected Eley, Thomas, Jenkins, Carter and Hall as likely to sign as undrafted free agents. It’s conceivable one or more could get selected in a late round. Jenkins, who auditioned as a tight end, had an impressive Pro Day workout that helped him net pre-draft visits with the Colts and Ravens.

As for White, Knight holds but the loftiest hopes for his career.

“He’s barely scratching the surface,” Knight said. “If he ends up with a coach that knows what they’re doing and he respects, he’s going to take off.”

While his physical abilities were made clear at the NFL draft combine – he broad jumped 9′9″ and had a 34-inch vertical leap and later ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.7-second range at Tech’s Pro Day, all superior scores for a player 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds – his learning aptitude and drive could be separators.

Knight stopped being bothered by White not taking notes in spring practice in 2022, after Knight had just become the defensive ends coach. At one practice when the ends were short in number, Knight switched White from the field-side end to the rush end, which he hadn’t played previously.

White proceeded to play the position without any mistakes of alignment or assignment. Knight said he realized “that’s the reason he’s asking those 17,000 questions – that’s how he learns. And he takes it and applies it from there. I think sitting and writing is distracting to him.”