Rookie minicamp is a time for the new kids to come into a new team facility and basically learn where to line up. Running in the right direction is considered a plus, and anything else is gravy in what is basically a series of glorified workouts. Everyone tends to look good -- especially quarterbacks, who get to zoom the ball around without the fear of contact against a bunch of undrafted tryout guys who will -- in some cases -- have this to remember as their first and last NFL experience.
Most rookies deal with this transition by way of the standard "Yes sir, no sir" dialogue, though you will get the odd draftee who pops off and shows an elevated level of confidence. So it was for New Orleans Saints cornerback Corey White, the team's fifth-round draft pick out of Samford. White ran a 4.39 40 at his Pro Day and impressed on tape with exceptional leaping ability, but he jumped to a questionable conclusion when asked about his NFL future.
"It's going to be fun picking off some balls from Drew Brees," White told NOLA.com on Friday. "It is going to be real fun. I am real confident in my game. You have to be confident to play this game."
Well, yes ... but throwing smack at the man who broke Dan Marino's single-season passing yardage record last year? Brees' response came via his Twitter account:
This is very true. Actually, it's more like two for every hundred.
White is a player, no doubt -- in a 44-game collegiate career, he amassed 140 tackles, seven picks, 18 passes defended, four forced fumbles and a blocked kick. But when he does go up against Brees, we suspect it'll be a bit tougher for White than it was when he was dealing with the starting quarterbacks from Elon, Wofford and West Alabama. Last year, Brees had just 14 interceptions in 657 attempts -- a 2.1 percent interception rate that has been fairly commonplace for him through his career. If White wants one of those footballs, he's really going to have to work for it.
The Saints' coaches do like what they've seen of White, though -- defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo seemed particularly impressed by White's tape. "We put a premium on corners in the package we're going to run, on arm length, height and his press ability," Spagnuolo said. "He showed that he was able to do that in this system. We have corners that have done that a lot. I think he'll fit in that way.
"He played at a small school, so you'll get dinged for that a little bit, and I don't know if that's always fair. That's what our scouts dug up, a good name, a good prospect. We all looked at him and thought he was a pretty good football player."
It's good to have confidence, but we'll just have to see how white does against a quarterback that has made defensive backs much better than him look pretty silly. That said, White sees himself as a versatile weapon in a Saints' defense that is obviously looking at a pretty serious rebuild and retooling for a number of reasons.
"Charles Woodson. I feel like he is a complete defensive back," White said, when asked who he'd most like to be once he gets up to speed at the NFL level. "He can do it all: tackle, cover, zone player, man player, he can do it all. I like to compare myself to him."
The Saints would certainly take that.
Of course, we don't actually know when White will actually see Brees in OTA's or training camp -- the Saints gave Brees the exclusive-rights franchise tag this offseason, and the veteran obviously wants a more long-term commitment.
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