Bears Draft Target: Keion White
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

Bears Draft Target: Keion White


by - Senior Writer -

Since January, the Chicago Bears have held the key to the NFL offseason, and that still hasn't changed. Once they traded away the No. 1 pick to Carolina, it set them up for an aggressive first wave of free agency, which they used to address their defense. The LB unit was the area they focussed on the most, but the Bears did a great job filling some of the many holes they needed.

Since then, things have slowed down regarding the free agent market, but that doesn't mean the Bears are done making moves. Ryan Poles has proven to be an aggressive GM, unafraid to go after what he wants. You have seen that in free agency this season and when they traded away their No. 1 pick for DJ Moore.

With the clocking ticking down to the 2023 NFL draft, which is now less than a month away, the Bears continue to hold one of the biggest keys to the draft as they could shake things up even more. If trading away the No. 1 pick wasn't enough, this team may trade their No. 9 pick to move back and potentially add another player to their roster. What that player would be is a bigger mystery, but don't put anything past the Bears at this point.

While I don't see them trading back unless there is a can't miss deal similar to the Carolina one, it is worth noting that the Bears have started to scout some players that could fall further down in the first round. That is an important note because if the Bears do trade back, they are going to be looking at some of these players.

One of these players is Georgia Tech EDGE rusher, Keion White. For a team that not only struggled to stop the run, but failed to get after the QB consistently, White makes a ton of sense as an option, as do other EDGE rushing draft prospects as the Bears continue to focus on remaking their defense.

Originally an Old Dominion product, White was initially listed as a FB/TE product before being moved to the EDGE rush position. Once he made that move, he thrived, and you could see his potential as a player. During his first season at the new position, which came in 2019, White generated 45 QB pressures and elected to enter the transfer portal following that season before committing to the Yellow Jackets.

His first year with the Yellow Jackets was a year to forget as he sat out 2020 due to COVID restrictions and also missed eight weeks with an ankle injury in 2021. That was roughly two consecutive seasons without seeing any action on the field, so you can see why he fell off the radar as quickly and easily as he did.

However, this past season, White was not only back on the field, but he may have saved his NFL draft status by putting himself back on the radar. In his first real opportunity as a pass rusher in the ACC, White bounced back and didn't disappoint, finishing the season with 41 pressures. That would have been impressive with Old Dominion, but to do that in a power five conference with the talent level they produce makes it that much more impressive.

Unlike many EDGE rushers, White has much more size and checks in at 290 pounds. However, don't let that fool you, as this guy is freakishly athletic. There are not too many 290-pound EDGE rushers that can run down a RB, and White has shown the ability to do that consistently.

After having just 3.5 sacks through his first three NCAA seasons, White doubled that output in 2022 to finish with 7.5 sacks. He also picked up 14 tackles for a loss last season to nearly equal the 19 he had during his final year with Old Dominion. Along with that, White had two forced fumbles, two pass deflections, and one interception as the athletic traits he displayed came full circle.

This is not a top-10 caliber prospect, and no one should expect him to be. However, if the Bears intend to trade back, White has a ton of upside and will be a late-round steal for any defense.

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