Chicago Bears: Kerrith Whyte Jr. is ready to make an impact

Chicago Bears (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Bears fans
Chicago Bears (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears got a “steal” and another offensive weapon in the 2019 NFL Draft when they selected Kerrith Whyte Jr.

Approximately two months before the 2019 NFL Draft, we highlighted a player that we believed would fit perfectly with the Chicago Bears and Matt Nagy’s offensive scheme. In fact, we identified him as one of the biggest sleepers in the entire draft.

As luck would have it, two months later in Nashville, Tennessee, a Bears fan, donning a sport coat with the team’s logo, strolled onto the stage to announce that with the 222nd pick in the draft, the Bears had selected Kerrith Whyte Jr., running back out of Florida Atlantic University.

My initial reaction was that the Bears got an absolute steal in Whyte. These sentiments were echoed by his college coach, Lane Kiffin who told 670 The Score’s Chris Emma that the Bears not only got a “steal” but an “explosive” player in Whyte.

Whyte is certainly explosive — as evidenced by his 4.38 40-yard dash time. He has breakaway speed that can lead to chunk yardage plays for this team, both on offense and special teams. Normally, you’d expect players with that kind of speed to be diminutive in stature — but not Whyte. He stands 5-foot-10, weighs 200 pounds, and is as solid as they come. In fact, he averaged 3.92 yards per rush after contact last season, good for a total of 522 yards.

With speed, power, contact balance, and versatility, Whyte checks all the boxes. No wonder why the Bears and fans are excited to see what he can do this season.

Another exciting aspect of Whyte’s game, and what likely intrigued the Bears besides his speed, is the number of ways in which he can impact the game. Beyond the run game and special teams (where he averaged 28.7 yards a return last year), he can split out wide, be utilized on jet sweeps, and in a myriad of other ways.

However, to only focus on his versatility would do a disservice to just how good of a pure runner he is. One of the reasons some teams may have overlooked Whyte was because he shared carries last year with third-round pick Devin Singletary. Yet, when Whyte got his opportunities, he capitalized and really made the most of them.

Although he toted the ball just 134 times, he averaged 6.5 yards per carry for a total of 866 yards. He also caught 10 balls for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

Whyte’s journey to the NFL has been a long one, full of hard work, dedication, and humility, which have become hallmarks of his character. When we last spoke we talked about going from not having a single Division I offer to being on the verge of fulfilling a lifelong dream. Recently, we reconnected to talk about the next step in chasing that dream with the Chicago Bears.