The New England Patriots selected Wisconsin running back James White with their fourth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft on Saturday. At the 130th overall pick, White gives the Patriots a skilled, versatile running back who compiled more than 4,000 all-purpose yards at UW, yet almost always played "second-fiddle" to John Clay, Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon.
White is the third Badger drafted this year, following Dezmen Southward (third round, Atlanta Falcons) and Chris Borland (third round, San Francisco 49ers). The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native is also the 13th running back selected in the 2014 draft.
In New England, White could very well push for playing time in a running backs group including Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden. Just about the only negative being attributed to White his size -- at 5'10, 195 pounds, "diminutive" is the all-too-easy label for him. But even if he is undersized, White frequently exhibited a willingness and the ability to rush between the tackles at Wisconsin. He also, particularly in his last two seasons, was split out wide as a receiver. His hands are fantastic, and he's also an able pass-blocker.
From Andrew's scouting report on White, in which suggested a NFL comparison of Chester Taylor:
The interesting thing is that White brings a lot to the table. He might be the most versatile back in the draft class. He runs with a surprising amount of power for his size (listed at 5'9, 204 pounds at the NFL Combine) because he will not be stonewalled after someone makes contact with him, and despite that style, he's only fumbled twice in 754 career touches. He also has the quickness that belies his 4.57-second 40-yard dash time as he gets to the second level quickly. He also has the vision that shows in his ability to find the cutback lane. In fact, nearly one of five of White's rushing attempts went for a first down, as he had 123 rushes of 10 or more yards in 643 attempts.
If you want a fun fact for comparison's sake, Washington's Bishop Sankey looks like he's a Day 2 draft prospect. He has a similar build to White at 5'9, 209 pounds, and he rushed for 644 career attempts. Only 14.7 percent of those carries went for a first down. White also had more rushes of 20 yards or more, 46 to 32. Of course, Wisconsin's offensive line helped, but White showed himself to be statistically more explosive than a top prospect or two. Auburn's Tre Mason, for example, only had 16.4 percent of his carries go for first downs.
In April, White also talked to B5Q about his draft prep, saying "I'm a guy that I feel that I can do it all."
We'll have more on White and the other Badgers picks throughout the day.
Reaction from Badgers players, coaches, NFL alums and media
LETS GO JMONEY BIG BROTHER TO THE PATRIOTS @SweetFeet_White— Gordon | 25™ | A01 (@Melvingordon25) May 10, 2014
Montee to manning James to Brady hahaha I mean they both went to legends ... Somebody about to win a super bowl really early— Gordon | 25™ | A01 (@Melvingordon25) May 10, 2014
This why I can't have a favorite team man !!!!!! It's too many of my boys across the board !!!!— Gordon | 25™ | A01 (@Melvingordon25) May 10, 2014
New England is the perfect spot for him man !!!!! Smh I wish I was able to fly out to his draft party smh— Gordon | 25™ | A01 (@Melvingordon25) May 10, 2014
Congrats to James White! 4th Rd Pick, Heading to New England Patriots! Another humble, hard working Badger that will overachieve as he has!— Ben Strickland (@UWCoachStrick) May 10, 2014
Patriots just took a very productive and polished runner in ex-Badger James White. He'll be useful in Foxboro.— Don Banks (@DonBanks) May 10, 2014
White could be productive for NE. Love that he can pass block and catch passes out of the backfield. #Badgers— John Veldhuis (@JohnVeldhuis) May 10, 2014