A lot of readers frequently ask about “sleepers’’ in the draft. I’ll give you one from right in the NFC South’s backyard.
How about North Carolina running back Johnny White?
“Maybe one of the most underrated players, regardless of position, in this year’s draft is Johnny White from North Carolina,’’ ESPN draft guru Todd McShay said in a recent conference call with the national media. “He played different positions early in this career. He was a defensive back, they moved him over as wide receiver. They tinkered with him. Right around 5-10, little over 200 pounds. He’s your average NFL back size basically. He has quickness. He has that lateral agility and the ability to make the sharp cuts and stick his foot in the dirt and explode. He has tremendous ball skills.”
White’s been under the radar because he didn’t have a huge college career. He wasn’t really a force until last season when he carried 130 times for 720 yards and seven touchdowns before breaking his clavicle against Florida State in early November. But this is a guy who seems to have the tools to play on Sundays and I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see him land in the NFC South as a mid-round pick.
White’s a guy with good speed and he also can catch the ball out of the backfield. Atlanta needs a guy like that to go with Michael Turner and Jason Snelling. Tampa Bay also could be in the market for a running back to play behind LeGarrette Blount and third-down back Cadillac Williams is a potential free agent.
Perhaps the best thing about White is that he’s coming out of college without a lot of carries. That means there hasn’t been a lot of wear and tear on his legs.