A day after selecting cornerback Christian Gonzalez with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots went defense again by selecting edge rusher Keion White with the No. 46 selection in the second round.
A bit of a surprise here, but more because White would’ve expected to be first-round pick. Another athlete with freaky speed and size, the Georgia Tech prospect is coming off a season in which he was selected third-team All-ACC. He led the Yellow Jackets with 7.5 sacks and 54 total tackles.
"“I just wanted to say I’m very excited to get into the Patriots organization, for sure and just what they bring to the table,” White said, via Patriots.com. “I’m really looking forward to working with the whole organization from top to bottom.”"
New England Patriots get an athletic freak in Keion White
As a former tight end converted to the defensive side of the ball, White brings versatility, but is also a player who is still learning and growing into his role. What better coach to learn from than Bill Belichick as the second-round pick fits the mold of the type of player off the edge he likes.
With Matthew Judon, Deatrich Wise, Josh Uche bringing the head on opposing quarterbacks, White will have some time to learn from those players as well as bring his own athleticism and businesslike approach off the edge.
Though a head scratching pick given the Patriots other needs, White fits the mold because he seems to already have “The Patriot Way” already installed in him. With his ability to dominate a game defensively, White says he is committed to doing his job.
"“I’m a very big businessperson,” White continued. “So I’m not too big into the glitz and glamour of football. I want to work, and I want to win. I feel like that’s what the Patriots offer, and I feel like that’s what we meet in the middle at.”"
At 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds, the New England Patriots are getting a monster of an athlete who has great pursuit speed that should benefit the team’s overall strength up front. More importantly, he appears to be one of those players who will benefit most from playing for a coach like Belichick.
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Although there was no contact with the team prior to the 2023 NFL Draft, White says the opportunity to play for a coach like Belichick is a great one in that he has a reputation of developing players. He knows he has a lot to learn and to improve on. The Patriots is the best system for him to do so.
In all, not the sexy pick giving the need for offensive playmakers, but a selection fans may learn to love. Welcome to New England Keion White.