The Chicago Bears were destined to take a running back at some point during the 2019 NFL Draft. But to our surprise, the Bears ended up taking two.
Drafting two running backs might feel like excess, but Kerrith Whyte Jr. brings something special to the party. Let’s take a moment to get to know the new guy!
THE PICK (ROUND 7, PICK 222)
- Name: Kerrith Whyte Jr.
- College: Florida Atlantic
- Position: Running back
- Age: 22
- Height, weight, hand size, arms: 5-foot-10, 197 pounds, 9-1/2 inches, 29-7/8 inches
NEED TO KNOW
- 2018 stats: 12 games, 134 rushes, 866 yards, 8 touchdowns; 19 catches, 160 yards, 2 touchdowns; 19 kick returns, 545 yards, 1 touchdown
- Career stats: 232 rushes, 1,358 yards, 11 rushing touchdowns; 22 catches, 227 yards, 2 receiving touchdowns; 254 touches, 1,585 scrimmage yards, 13 total touchdowns; 81 kick returns, 2,115 yards, 2 touchdowns
- College Achievements: Second-team All-Conference USA as a return specialist (2018); Honorable Mention All-Conference USA as a return specialist (2016), first player in FAU history to score a kick-return touchdown.
PRO DAY RESULTS
- 40-yard dash: 4.36 seconds
- Bench press: 21
- Vertical: 42 inches
- Broad jump: 132 inches
- Elite speed. Whyte is fast as heck. When you watch the returns on his game film, a particular ex-Bears return specialist is going to come to mind. I don’t want to put that one-for-one comp on Whyte right now, but that one-cut followed by a burst of speed looks awfully familiar. If you blink, you might miss something special.
- Touchdown machine. Whyte saved his best for last, scoring 10 touchdowns in just 144 touches during his redshirt-junior season at FAU. Eight of those 10 scores came on the ground. Between having high-end speed, powerful legs that forced missed tackles, and a nose for the end zone, Whyte has a lot going for him as a running back prospect.
- Willingness to do it all. This piece from CBS-12’s John Evenson on Whyte gives provides quality background on Whyte, but one quote stands out above the rest: “Special players play special teams. A lot of people think special teams is not for you, or it’s not the cool thing to do. (But it just) betters your opportunities to make more plays on the field. Running back, special teams, you want me to catch the ball, I’ll do anything. Whatever it takes.” That’s the kind of attitude Bears fans will absolutely wrap their arms around and embrace.
- Limited exposure. Whyte spent his whole college career running behind Devin Singletary, FAU’s star running back who was a third-round pick. Because of that, Whyte didn’t get to tackle some of the developmental curves most running back prospects get to conquer.
- Pass protection. Perhaps it gets better with practice reps that will come moving forward, but NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein notes that Whyte “loses sight of twists and blitzers and gets quarterback hit.” That’s not something Mitch Trubisky fans want to read about their new back.
- Future role. We’ve talked about how Bears backs need to be versatile moving forward and show they can excel as multi-purpose players. Whyte will need to carve out a role as a special teams ace, while also improving on pass-protection, and other perceived deficiencies. He’ll have a lot on his plate as soon as things get started at Halas Hall, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he handles it.
NFL.COM COMPARISON: Jordan Todman.
— PFF CHI Bears (@PFF_Bears) April 27, 2019