The Green Bay Packers could be in the market for an inside linebacker when the 2021 NFL Draft rolls around. Today we take a look at Jarell White, a linebacker for Cincinnati that could be on Green Bay’s radar.
As the Green Bay Packers head into their bye week they currently rank ninth overall against the run. That high ranking can be attributed to teams playing catchup against Green Bay’s high octane offense, more than the Packers being stout against the run.
In week one against the Minnesota Vikings, Mike Pettine’s group gave up 6.1 yards per attempt and two rushing touchdowns.
The following week the Detroit Lions had to abandon the run in a 42-21 drubbing. On seven rushing attempts, Adrian Peterson averaged nearly six yards per carry (5.9).
In a primetime matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Alvin Kamara averaged 9.7 yards per attempt on six carries. What would his average looked like if he had gotten more carries? Probably not that high. However, it’s worth noting that Kamara’s counterpart, Latavius Murray averaged 4.8 yards per attempt on 12 carries.
The run defense had it’s best game of the season this past week against Todd Gurley and the Atlanta Falcons. The Green Bay Packers held Gurley to 57 yards on 16 carries.
The run defense will get a shot in the arm when defensive lineman Kenny Clark returns from injury (hopefully following the bye week).
As it stands right now the Green Bay Packers have some intriguing players at inside linebacker. Christian Kirksey is currently sidelined with an injury. In his place undrafted rookie, Krys Barnes has looked the part.
Kamal Martin was opening eyes during camp and could play a vital role when he returns from injury. Ty Summers has been around the ball a lot but has struggled with missed tackles.
This group has shown promise. If Barnes continues to play well and if Martin shows out when he returns to the gridiron will that stop general manager, Brian Gutekunst from addressing the inside linebacker position this offseason?
If Gutekunst is going to add to that room via the NFL Draft a player that he could target is Cincinnati’s Jarell White.
White is the man in the middle for one of the most talented and stout defenses in college football. He came to Cincinnati as a four-star recruit and was a two-way star in high school. White played running back, linebacker, and defensive back in high school.
“It’s been a long journey playing for the Bearcats,” White said. “Each year keeps getting better and better the more we grow. Finishing 11-3 was not the goal but we still competed each week and fought for one another.”
As a true freshman, White started in the team’s final four games. In those four games, White recorded 34 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, and one pass deflection.
The following year as a sophomore, White started in six games and recorded 58 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and one interception. Last season White recorded 65 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one, sack, one interception, and forced three fumbles.
White is off to a great start in 2020. In three games the senior linebacker has recorded 31 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss.
White, the tackling machine earned AAC Defensive Player of the Week honors following Cincinnati’s victory over Army. In that game, White recorded a career-high 15 tackles, one tackle for loss, and was instrumental in the team’s strong defensive performance.
Since arriving on campus, White has been a contributor for Luke Fickell’s defense. This year as a senior, White is looking to breakout in a big way. He attributes his growth as a player to the Bearcats’ coaching staff.
“I love playing for Coach Fick,” White said. “As a player, you want to have a coach that constantly pushes you to be better each and every day.
I’ve put my trust in him ever since the day I committed to the University. It’s been a long journey getting coached by him but it has made me a better player and young man which I am grateful for.”
One of White’s greatest strengths is his football IQ. He’s able to diagnose plays quickly, which leads to him being around the football a lot.
“My greatest strength would be my ability to read plays fast and react quickly,” White said. “I have the ability to play in space while also making plays. This year my focus was to continue to work on my game speed and focus on being a leader of the defense and linebacker room.”
White has the quickness to play sideline-to-sideline. Where he shines is tackle-to-tackle. He is an absolute joy to watch against the run.
The senior linebacker comes downhill with bad intentions. White plays like a hammer looking for a nail. He packs a punch and would help improve the Green Bay Packers’ run defense with his tenacious play-style.
“I would consider myself an enforcer against the run,” White said. “I’m heavy on being aggressive when I need to be. I played inside linebacker two years ago so I understand how to fit up the run while also reading in between the box.”
White has two career interceptions. He has plus coverage skills and has a great feel for zone coverage. His coverage skills are one thing that he hopes he can showcase during his final season playing for the Bearcats.
“I think that I hold up pretty well in coverage,” White said. “I can play zone and man coverages very well. I hope to get challenged more in the coverage game this season so I can display my ability to play in coverage.”
The Green Bay Packers may or may not be in the market for an inside linebacker this offseason. That all hinges on how the young linebackers look the rest of the season.
There is no doubt that if the Packers were to draft White that he’d be the enforcer against the run that they’ve lacked. When the draft season rolls around (it already has) White will be a name to remember.