I’m pretty high on the potential of Buffalo’s 2011 draft class. First-round pick Marcell Dareus is as close to a sure thing as you can get out of the draft, and I think several other rookies have a good chance to contribute right away. So there’s a lot of excited about.
But I’ve been especially on one guy in particular ever since the pick was announced – RB Johnny White out of North Carolina. Running backs were somewhat undervalued in this draft, and as a result White slipped down to the fifth round, where I think he was a steal for Buffalo.
What I like about White is that the man is just an old-school football player. He played multiple positions at North Carolina on both sides of the ball before getting a shot to be the feature back in his final season. He’s a great special teams player and will no doubt contribute there right away. He’s not a super athlete, but runs HARD. He’s simply going to find a way to succeed in the NFL.
The problem White faces is that he’s walking into a very talented backfield in Buffalo. Fred Jackson is a proven producer, and C.J. Spiller’s tremendous physical gifts are going to force coaches to continue to give him chances to play. Will White be able to carve himself out a role?
One (very important) person seems to think so: Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins.
Modkins, a former college back himself, is very high on White’s potential. He had plenty of good things to say about White in a recent interview with BuffaloBills.com.
Modkins on White’s natural instincts: “Just watching him on film I thought he had a very natural feel as a runner. He did things instinctively. When you’re a runner there are some things that you can’t teach and Johnny did those things. When I found out that he hadn’t played running back his entire college career I was even more impressed with him.”
Modkins on White’s versatility: “You have a guy in him that has been kind of a jack-of-all-trades. He was probably one of the better athletes on North Carolina’s squad and when you’re one of the better athletes you get put in a lot of different roles. He was asked to do a lot of different things, but when they settled on him at running back I think he really found a home.”
Modkins on his goals for White: “My goal is whenever they say start that we can get him caught up to speed as quickly as possible because he’s going to contribute on special teams and we’re going to expect him to be ready to go offensively as well.”
Sounds like White is in the offensive plans for 2011. I’m very excited to see if he can get on the field for the offense. If so, I think we’ll see some great things from him in Buffalo.