Off Awesome Combine, West Virginia's White Becomes Viable Option For Jets At No. 6
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- If the Jets hold on to the No. 6 pick in the draft they could end up with an impact player -- even if his name isn't Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota or Amari Cooper.
That's because West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White is coming off a performance at the NFL Scouting Combine that has shot his stock into the stratosphere.
White, who was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, wowed in Indianapolis over the weekend, running a 4.35 40-yard dash and catching everything in drills. White is confident, too, as he said he wants to be selected before Alabama's Cooper, who is universally understood to be the most polished of all the receivers in the draft.
"Everyone dreams of being the first draft pick at their position," White said.
With a prototypical 6-foot-3, 215-pound build, White could be appealing to the Jets in the first round because they might need to go wide receiver if they don't come to a favorable resolution with Percy Harvin. The veteran wideout is due $10.5 million in 2015, but the Jets can cut him and the remaining four years and roughly $42 million on his contract with no cap hit because his deal no longer has guaranteed money.
Since it's looking more and more like the Jets' new front office and coaching staff are willing to give Geno Smith another chance to be the team's starting quarterback, general manager Mike Maccagnan will likely do everything in his power to put more weapons around him.
The prevailing thought is the Jets would prefer to keep Harvin at a reduced rate and pair him with Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley. However, if Harvin refuses to redo his deal the Jets could cut him and target Cooper or the impressive White at No. 6 and let whichever one they select learn on the job, while eating up far less cap space.
After having a relatively quiet 2013 season, White exploded on the scene this past season, catching 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"My junior year, I put bad film out there," White said last week. "That's not the kind of receiver, the kind of player I am. Going into my senior year, I just put everything on the line and did what I had to do. Like I've been telling teams, it finally clicked. I'm going to work hard and do anything and everything possible that I can."
The Jets are believed to be more than $40 million under the salary cap, but that number would jump up significantly if they cut Harvin. Maccagnan said he plans to be very aggressive in free agency, but there is little doubt that if the Jets keep the No. 6 pick and do not select a quarterback, the player they do pick will be counted on to contribute immediately next season.
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