Brendon White, S, Rutgers – NFL Draft Player Profile

There’s an elite upper echelon in college football, where five or six teams draw in a large percentage of the incoming talent each year. Ohio State is part of the upper echelon. But in the wave of talent that arrives at Columbus each year, some players get swept under the radar and are forced to look elsewhere for opportunities. That was the case for Rutgers safety Brendon White, who now aims to remind teams of his upside on the NFL Draft stage.

Brendon White NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Safety
  • School: Rutgers
  • Current Year: Senior
  • Height: 6’1 3/8″
  • Weight: 215 pounds

Tony Pauline’s Brendon White Scouting Report

Positives: Ohio State transfer who turned in a terrific campaign in 2020. Shows good awareness, plays physical football, and possesses an explosive burst to the action out of his plant.

Fires upfield defending the run, sells out on the blitz, and recognizes assignments. Keeps the action in front of him, quickly locates the ball, and works well with cornerbacks to bracket receives over them middle of the field. Wraps up tackling and gives effort.

Negatives: Must improve his backpedal. Lacks long speed. Posted just one moderately productive season at Ohio State before transferring to Rutgers.

Analysis: White is a nice-sized safety who showed flashes of ability since moving from the receiver position as a freshman. He’s a strong safety with the ball skills and instincts to also be used in a zone system.

Brendon White Player Profile

Brendon White was a four-star recruit in the 2017 recruiting class. Originally a multi-positional athlete, White played quarterback and safety for Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio, and also logged some time as a receiver. His well-rounded résumé contributed to his high ranking. However, he also had some tangible athletic upside to build upon, having logged a 4.54 40-yard dash and a 35-inch vertical during testing.

White had scholarship offers from a host of Power Five schools, including Penn State, Illinois, Boston College, and Michigan State. But the Powell native lived just 20 minutes from Columbus — the home of the Buckeyes. So when Ohio State presented him with an offer to play for them, the choice was easy.

Brendon White’s journey to becoming a Rutgers safety

At first, it looked like White would have the opportunity he sought in Ohio. He was little more than a rotational player in his first season, but as a true sophomore, he became a more consistent contributor in the secondary.

White played in all 14 games in 2018 and started five of them, logging 46 total tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 2 pass breakups. He had 8 tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss in a 2019 Rose Bowl MVP performance, helping the Buckeyes beat the Washington Huskies 28-23.

White’s strong finish in 2018 alluded to a continued ascension in 2019. However, in an unexpected turn, White’s role decreased the next year, largely due to schematic changes. White played in 10 games and only logged one start, accumulating just 19 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, a sack, and a pass deflection.

His decrease in playing time ultimately led him to enter the transfer portal. White transferred from Ohio State in 2020 and chose to transfer to Rutgers. In doing so, he joined his former defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who was now the Rutgers head coach.

White’s lone season with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights

At Rutgers, White was able to reprise his role as a strong safety in common two-high safety looks. His production increased as a result. The Rutgers safety only played in five games, but he managed to produce at his highest clip yet, earning 38 total tackles, a half-tackle for loss, an interception, a pass deflection, and a forced fumble.

It was a strong finish to the Rutgers safety’s career, and it yielded him recognition as an All-Big Ten honorable mention. After ending his career on a high note, White announced in late December that he would be declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Brendon White’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft

Brendon White’s name hasn’t generated much buzz. Nevertheless, the Rutgers safety has some intriguing upside late in the draft. NFL teams sometimes gravitate to former four and five-star recruits in the late-round and undrafted frenzy. Thus, White has that going for him. He also has an athletic profile worth considering, having earned a Relative Athletic Score of 6.42 at his pro day.

Despite his respectable athletic score, White’s athletic strengths — and limitations — match up well with Tony’s analysis above. He has a nice 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame, but his long speed is a definite concern, with a mere 4.66 40-yard dash. He has decent explosiveness numbers, with a 34.5-inch vertical jump and a 112-inch broad jump, but it’s not quite enough to compensate for his lacking speed. Nevertheless, in the right role — a box safety role — White’s burst and density can provide some utility.

What are the best potential team fits for White?

White has an intriguing athletic profile. However, it’s ultimately not strong enough to significantly boost his stock. In this class, he’s a Round 6 or Round 7 pick at best, and he could ultimately go undrafted.

Still, White has a lot of experience as a strong safety. Thus, for teams that use a lot of two-high looks, he could be a solid addition late. Additionally, White’s profile projects well toward special teams. His sound tackling skills will be valuable there.

Since Urban Meyer coached the Buckeyes when they recruited White, a reunion might be in the making there, especially considering the Jacksonville Jaguars’ lack of depth at safety. However, the potential fits are numerous later in the draft, and any team with extra picks late might have cause to consider picking White. The Rutgers safety could potentially exceed his draft stock in the right role. And at the very least, he offers special teams upside.

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Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.