After addressing the backend of the defense, the New England Patriots shifted their focus to the front by selecting Georgia Tech’s powerful edge rusher Keion White with the No. 46 overall pick of the 2023 NFL draft.
White is a no-nonsense playmaker that is the very definition of speaking lightly and carrying a big stick. He’s an enforcer that has the ability to overpower offensive linemen and wreck plays before they happen.
For the Patriots, this was a solid draft selection considering some had White as a first-round pick heading into the event.
Of course, not everyone feels the same way about the pick for a Patriots team that could have addressed other needs on the roster. Here’s a round-up of draft grades for the Patriots’ new defender:
Pro Football Network: B+
Oliver Hodgkinson of Pro Football Network believes White could make a major impact for the Patriots:
At 6’4” and 285 pounds, White can play as a big defensive end while also making an impact from the interior of a defensive line. That skill set makes him a valuable piece in New England. The Georgia Tech EDGE prospect is extremely explosive, and his size/length combination allows him to be a violent and powerful presence on the defensive front.
Patriots Wire: B-
Patriots Wire’s Cam Garrity sees White as a major addition up front:
He has inside and outside versatility, and overall, good run stop and pass rush duality. White possesses a lot of what Deatrich Wise Jr. does now and can actually replace Anfernee Jennings’ role if the Patriots want to move on from him.
The Athletic: A-
The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman thinks White’s upside and versatility will be a huge lift for the Patriots:
White (6-4 7/8, 285) has long arms (34 inches) and wingspan (80) mostly played outside the tackle but generated 30 hurries last year for Georgia Tech to go along with his seven sacks. White has plenty of room to grow despite his college experience and can play in multiple schemes because of his size.
Yahoo! Sports: C
Yahoo! Sports’ Charles McDonald didn’t have much praise for this draft selection for the Patriots:
White isn’t a particularly dynamic defensive lineman, but he’s not bad either. He’ll be a competent rotation player for the Patriots and can play a ton of spots, which New England always values.
SB Nation: B+
White and the Pats is a great scheme fit. He’s a powerfully built EDGE defender who primarily wins with power, and then can kick inside and win against guards. That third down group with White on the inside and Judon and Josh Uche on the outside will be fun to watch.
Bleacher Report: B
Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski likes White’s size and strength along the defensive front:
Big, strong athlete, gets into blocks to control opposing lineman then violently sheds them, better-than-expected bend for bigger end