Pro Day workout results have begun trickling in. Arizona State’s Rachaad White did nothing but step on a scale and hit the bench at his. It’s a bit frustrating to not have a complete athletic profile from which to work, but it is what it is:
After weighing 210 at the Senior Bowl, White beefed up to 215 by the time his Pro Day rolled around. This gives him solid size. While he’s still a bit tall and skinny, my concerns about his proportional build have been mostly alleviated. We’ve seen players with his body type — Ahman Green, Adrian Peterson, Melvin Gordon — experience high-end success before. If he was the 6-2 and 210-pounds he was listed at by ASU last season, there would be much less historical precedent for projecting him for a sizable three-down workload.
It would be nice to have agility numbers, but the testing results we do have are pretty nice. He’s both explosive and fast. And he would’ve been even faster with a better 10-yard split, the most technique-dependent element of the 40-yard dash.
Based on the above measurables, the following historical prospects are the most similar to White from a purely physical standpoint:
Rachaad White spent three years at Mt. SAC; a community college that, as far as I can tell, doesn’t compete as part of the NCAA. While there, it took him a bit of time to get going. But he was a dominant producer by the time he was a junior.
The time it took to establish himself there is not a great look. But he was immediately productive after transferring to Arizona State as a fourth-year player. His 66th-percentile Dominator Rating posted on a decent team that year was good enough to count as a legitimate breakout; I contextualize market share numbers for team quality when establishing breakout seasons. That was the COVID-shortened 2020 season. While White was productive, the Sun Devils played only a four-game schedule. He probably didn’t get the exposure needed to declare for the NFL Draft in such a short period of time.
As a super senior, White legitimized that breakout (and his non-FBS production) with a dominant year as the lead back for an above-average team in a Power 5 conference.
Given the seasonal Dominator Ratings he posted and the quality of teams he played for, the following historical prospects had the most similar college production profiles:
It’s difficult to find strong comps for a guy who started out at community college and ended up being dominant in the Pac-12. Bah gawd I’ve gone and done it though. The above guys all finished their careers as productive players at Power 5 schools after starting out at various non-FBS levels. It’s worth noting that none of these guys experienced sustained fantasy relevance in the NFL.
For the purposes of using the most relevant numbers, the above metrics are drawn from White’s performance only at ASU.
Relative to quality teammates, White was very good. Box-Adjusted Efficiency Rating is the number I’d most hone in on here. It represents how efficient a player is overall, relative to his teammates and adjusting for the box counts faced. Slightly concerning is White’s subpar Relative Success Rate, which could indicate a lack of consistency in producing successful outcomes. We don’t want our running backs to be dancers who take lots of negative plays. White’s Chunk Rate+ indicates that he was generating chunk gains at a significantly higher rate than other ASU backs. Considering down and distance, he wasn’t gaining a requisite amount of yards more often than them to any impressive degree.
Given his physical profile in combination with the above metrics, the most similar historical prospects to White from a “pure runner” perspective are:
I’m not a big Miles Sanders guy; he has some of that negative play-itis that I alluded to above. But having three solid, at least starting-level dudes among the top five comps is pretty encouraging for White. Players who are built like him and run like him have been successful in the NFL.
While an efficient runner, Rachaad White is probably even more impressive as a pass-catcher:
There’s a lot of green up there.
From nearly every angle, White was a quality receiver at Arizona State. He caught a lot of balls, he owned a large share of the passing game, and his Satellite Score indicates that that productivity was not simply a result of his being the best player on offense. His receiving role was large even in the context of his overall offensive dominance.
I like to see my running backs be used dynamically as receivers. White, being moved around the formation as much as he was, certainly qualifies. His aDOT wasn’t incredibly high. But at the very least, I want backs to not catch balls exclusively behind the line of scrimmage. White qualifies there, too.
Then, from nearly every efficiency vantage point, he was impressive. He’s catching a high rate of his targets and he’s making things happen with the ball in his hands.
It’s rare to see a receiving profile as robust as White’s, and his closest comps in that area are reflective of that:
Three out of the five guys here have been RB1s in fantasy, and the other two weren’t nearly the rushers in college that White was. Something to chew on.
After he came in to the Combine at 214-pounds, I am fully in on Rachaad White as one of the best running backs in this class. He has the best blend of production, athleticism, rushing efficiency, and receiving chops of any 2022 back. Yes, even better than Breece Hall. The drawbacks on his profile are his age (he’s already 23) and the slight risk I see in a possible boom-bust running style.
Given that the COVID-affected 2020 season threw a wrench in conventional wisdom about how old players should be when they declare for the draft, I’m willing to give White a pass on the whole fifth-year senior thing. This running back class is abnormally old across the board (I hypothesize largely because of that COVID year), and White broke out in 2020 anyway. Would we have liked to have him in the league a year ago? Sure. Does his NFL Draft declaration getting pushed because of a global pandemic mean that he’s a worse player than he would’ve been? I don’t think so.
Given White’s complete profile, here are the historical players who were most similar as prospects:
White is not a no-doubt prospect, but he’s a dude with a three-down skillset, a workhorse body type, and a history of strong production. Only Alvin Kamara is his match from both a receiving and rushing standpoint on this list, and I think we should view his range of outcomes similar to how we viewed Kamara’s back in 2017. Hitting the high end of that range is a big ask, but I can see White succeeding in a lot of different ways.