Georgia Tech DL Keion White embracing doubters ahead of 2023 NFL draft

When the NFL released the list of prospects attending the 2023 NFL draft, there weren’t many surprises, but one name did stand out next to the rest. Georgia Tech defensive lineman Keion White hasn’t often been mocked as a first-round pick. He’s currently the No. 44 ranked player on the consensus big board.

Catching up with White at the NFL Football Play event at Central High School on Wednesday, he didn’t seem too worried about what anyone had to say about where he’ll be drafted.

“I mean, that’s their opinion,” White said. “It’s appreciated. It’s actually motivation to me. I love when people tell me that I can’t do something because that makes me want to do it 10 times harder.”

In the interim, White is not necessarily out to change any opinions. He knows there will come a time for that. Right now, he’s just living in the moment and embracing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the draft and become an NFL player, no matter how long he’s waiting in the green room at Union Station.

“I feel like you’d be mad at the world to try and convince everybody who thinks you’re wrong that you’re right,” White said. “So, you let people have their opinion. You’ve just got to know who you are and walk your path and let life take you. Even if I don’t go in the first round, it’s not going to bother me because it’s still an opportunity to play in the NFL and I’m at the draft. So that’s good for me. I’m enjoying the moment and loving to be here, to be honest.”

During the pre-draft process, White did a lot more convincing and learning. Meeting with coaches and scouts around the NFL, he was able to discern a lot about his game and what he’ll need to improve on at the next level.

“One thing they said (I can improve on), which is something I said all the time, it’s just my hand usage, accuracy and just base and everything like that when I play,” White explained. “What they do like is how physical that I play and that I like wreck stuff. And also, they think it’s a big advantage that I’ve only played two years at defensive end because I’m pretty much a blank slate. There are not too many bad habits that I have now that can’t be unlearned, so that’s a big thing.”

White started his college football career playing tight end before making the switch to the defensive line in 2019. When he transferred from Old Dominion to Georgia Tech in 2021, he played just four games due to injury. He exploded during his final season in 2022, with 54 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks, earning Third-Team All-ACC honors.

Given White’s relative lack of experience playing defensive line, NFL teams seem to view him as moldable clay. Every team indicated that they’d have different plans for him if he were drafted to the team.

“That’s the thing, I’ve talked to almost every team in the NFL and I’ve gotten a different answer almost every time,” White said. “Whether it be 3-tech, whether it be outside linebacker, 5 (technique) like big end, they all see me as different things.”

White didn’t have an opportunity to go on a top-30 visit with Kansas City, but he’s been in touch with the Chiefs during the course of the pre-draft process. Speaking on his experience so far, it’s safe to say that he could get used to calling the area home.

“I went out jogging this morning, I went on a 3-4 mile jog,” White said. “I got pretty close to the NFL draft stage, but they got it all blocked off and everything. It was pretty nice actually.”

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Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire