On the heels of a fine Senior Bowl performance under center, more positive news for Pat White in his quest to actually be allowed to throw a pass at the next level -- his arm seems to have had a surprisingly good showing in Indianapolis on Sunday:
That's a good thing, because White's legs weren't nearly as good to his bid to convince teams he can make a smooth transition to wide receiver, for three specific reasons:
• He didn't run like a wide receiver. White was easily the fastest of the 10 quarterbacks on hand, running a 4.55 40-yard dash , which would have placed him 25th among the receivers. (While we're on the subject, this just in: Darrius Heyward-Bey is fast.)
• He didn't jump like a wide receiver. Again, White had the best vertical jump and the second-best broad jump among the quarterbacks, and again, both numbers would have left him well outside the top 20 among receivers.
• He didn't change direction like a wide receiver. White didn't even change direction like a particularly athletic quarterback in the three-cone drill or the 20-yard shuttle, coming in around the middle of the pack among the passers and well behind the receiver average in both drills. (Fellow QB Rhett Bomar, it's worth pointing out, dominated the 20-yard shuttle, putting up the fastest time of any player at any position over the weekend -- until defensive backs run over the next two days, that is).
Generally, I'm sympathetic to the thinking that some guys are "just a football player," or something, and verifiable athleticism doesn't translate into success; I'm rooting for White, in particular, because he's likable and exciting and is the epitome of a great athlete set to be snubbed more by systemic, entrenched biases and lack of creativity than actual ability. But I'm realistic: When every single measurable number suggests he's just a notch below the class of athletes at the position he's expected to join -- or has been expected to join until very recently (he's not considered a project at quarterback for nothing) -- that's some pretty strong ignorin'. It's tough to lose that Plan B.