The 2014 NFL Draft is just under a month away, which means it's time to take a look at the former Badger football players who are hoping to hear their names called sometime between May 8 and 10.
So far I've profiled Chris Borland, Jared Abbrederis, and Ryan Groy. Today I'll profile James White, who is looking to become the fifth Wisconsin running back drafted since 2000, following in the footsteps of Ron Dayne, Michael Bennett, Brian Calhoun, and Montee Ball.
White will have a hard time matching their track record on draft day: Dayne and Bennett were first round picks in 2000 and 2001, and Calhoun and Ball were third and second round picks as well. But White could carve out a living in the NFL even if he has to wait until the third day of the draft for a team to take him- it all depends on what situation he ends up in.
White earned playing time right away as a true freshman in 2010: he played in 12 games for the Badgers and finished his first season with 1,052 yards on 156 attempts. White also scored 14 touchdowns and earned Wisconsin's second-straight Big Ten Freshman of the Year award.
White wouldn't match that touchdown record again, but he got pretty close and finished his career as Wisconsin's fourth leading rusher. White rushed for 2,963 yards over his final three seasons with the Badgers, and missed just two games during his four years on campus. He was a consensus second team All-Big Ten selection after his senior season, and is also No. 3 on Wisconsin's all-time rushing touchdown list.
Final stat line: 52 games played, 14 games started, 643 attempts, 4,015 rushing yards, 45 rushing touchdowns, 6.2 yards per carry.
Weight: 204 pounds
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 23 (T-4th among RBs)
Arm Length: 29.25 inches
Hands: 8.25 inches
40-Yard Dash: 4.57 seconds (T-17th among RBs)
Vertical Jump: 32.0 inches (T-25th among RBs)
White was a very productive running back in college. He has good vision and makes good cuts when he runs, which helped him turn normal plays into explosive ones at times. He's not a runner who will leave you in the dust, but he gets to top speed quickly. White also learned how to pass block in college, which is vital skill for any running back in the NFL. White also has experience catching passes out of the backfield.
White is undersized, even for a running back. You'd also expect him to be a little faster for his size, but he put on extra muscle in college so he could work in the trenches more often for the Badgers.
Three Potential Landing Spots
White has already met with the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints. Another team like the Minnesota Vikings could also use a new change of pace option at running back.
John's final take:
I think White can carve out a nice career in the NFL for a late-round selection. Running back isn't a huge priority for many teams right now, but teams are starting to share some of the reps between their No. 1 and No. 2 options. White already knows how to pass block, which could help him stick on a roster since a team could trust him on passing downs if they need to.
The Saints traded Darren Sproles to Philadelphia during the offseason, so they could use another pass-catching running back to replace him. With two picks at the end of the fifth round the Saints might take a look at White, who could also help protect Drew Brees as an additional bonus.
Fifth round to the New Orleans Saints, No. 169 overall.
John Veldhuis covers Wisconsin football, basketball and recruiting for BadgerBlitz.com on the Rivals.com network. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnVeldhuis.