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02-25-2009, 05:25 AM
NFL Combine: West Virginia QB's stock rises quickly
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
INDIANAPOLIS -- Until someone in authority tells him otherwise, Pat White is going on the assumption, if not the intention, he will be a quarterback in the NFL.

He likely doesn't have the necessary size to last at that position, not like he did for four seasons at West Virginia. And his speed and agility make him the type of prospect who is more likely to be projected as a wide receiver at the next level.

Nonetheless, of all the players who were hoping to improve their draft stock at the NFL Scouting Combine, there might not be many, if any, who did more for their prospects than White.

"I am still working to be a quarterback," he said. "And until somebody tells me no, I am going to continue to do that."

That doesn't mean White, who set 15 school and Big East Conference records at West Virginia, is averse to playing another position. He also is being looked at as the type of player who would fit perfectly in the Wildcat package that so many teams implemented this season.

But, during his workout Sunday in front of NFL coaches, scouts and general managers, White was the quarterback who was the most impressive at Lucas Oil Stadium, outperforming Southern California's Matt Sanchez, considered one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft. Georgia's Matthew Stafford, considered the No. 1 prospect, declined to throw at the combine.

White also had the fastest 40-yard dash times among the quarterbacks -- between 4.48 and 4.54.

"A few teams think that I am able to play quarterback at the next level and a few say that they see me at a different position," White said. "I just want to help out in any way that I can, whether that be at receiver or punt-returner. I just want to get on the field somehow."

None of this is to suggest that White thrust himself into a category with Stafford and Sanchez. Perhaps his biggest deterrent is his size (6 feet 1, 197 pounds), which causes NFL people to question his ability to withstand the pounding he will take.

Nonetheless, White might have taken a big step toward convincing teams he can play quarterback by making all the necessary throws, even the deep out, and showing surprising consistency. At the least, he made himself a more intriguing possibility for someone's Wildcat package, which requires a player who can run and handle the ball.

"Obviously, Pat White is an incredible athlete," said Thomas Dimitroff, the Atlanta Falcons' general manager. "I think the Wildcat situation is something that a lot of us are trying to figure out what's the best way to defend it as well as use it. I think it will continue to bring players to the forefront that have a little bit of that Slash ability, where they can also toss the ball."

"We're traditional with our offense, but some teams have gone to that look [where they say], 'We have an athlete in the backfield, and he can throw the ball and run the ball.' " said Jerry Reese, the New York Giants' general manager. "That gives you another dimension. So Pat White should be popular in that respect."

White might be the perfect fit for the Wildcat package. In four years with the Mountaineers, he passed for 6,051 yards and 56 touchdowns and rushed for 4,480 yards and 47 touchdowns.

But even the Miami Dolphins, who used the Wildcat package more frequently, and with more success, than any other NFL team last season, might be reluctant to draft a player solely for that reason because the package is just a small part of an offense.

"There are players in this draft that certainly have qualities like that," Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said. "I don't know that we would solely do that. When you're looking at the percentage that we've used [the Wildcat], that would be hard to do."

Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com.
First published on February 25, 2009 at 12:00 am

02-25-2009, 05:28 AM
I am not one that thinks Pat White is the right fit in Pittsburgh with the Steelers, but this guy in my opinion will make an imediate impact somewhere in the NFL, and I think it could be in Miami where they love that WildCat thing..
I sure wish him all the luck in the world, as long as he is not playing our Steelers