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Patriots Player Profile: Keion White

The Patriots suffered a demoralizing 38-3 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday. If the 35-point deficit wasn’t bad enough, the rising New England defense also sustained two significant blows. Rookie corner Christian Gonzalez left the game with a shoulder injury, and star edge rusher Matthew Judon tore his bicep, both player’s timetable to return is unknown at the moment, but it appears that they will miss a good amount of time. To state the obvious, other guys on defense will now have to step up.

When looking at who will pick up the slack in Judon’s absence, one of the first names that comes to mind is rookie defensive end Keion White. The Patriots took the Georgia Tech product with the 15th pick in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. White instantly went viral for the image of him wearing a mean mug when his name was called at the draft. Some said it appeared that White was not happy about going to New England, but it was later revealed that that’s just White’s normal demeanor… all business. White later explained himself.

“I don't know if y'all seen on TV, but I'm a pretty chill person, so I'm not very like explosive in excitement in any form. So I've just kind of been taking it in and I haven't even talked to my family, to be honest. I've just kind of taken it all in and handled it myself for sure,” said White, via CBS Boston

The second-round pick went on to talk about how he thought he would fit into the Patriots organization.

“I'm a very big business person, so I'm not too big on the glitz and glamour of football, I want to work. I want to win. And I feel like that's what the Patriots offer. And I feel like that's where we meet in the middle there," said White.

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White proved himself early on in training camp and in the preseason, making some great tape against the Texans in his NFL debut. White kept getting into the backfield and disrupting plays, and even caused a fumble on a tackle for a loss midway through the second quarter. Throughout his time in the game, White was making an impact, dominating his man, and hurrying the quarterback. The rookie also showed that he can plant his foot and change direction quickly for a man of his size, a unique trait at the defensive end position.

Four games into the season, the 24-year-old has already shown flashes of what he can be in the NFL. White took his first regular season snaps in the season opener against Philadelphia, who has a top-five offensive line. White was constantly getting pressure, and at times was shown putting all-pro tackle Lane Johnson on skates.

Since the Patriots have been so deep in talent on the defensive line, White hasn’t seen the field on a consistent basis, only logging 32% of the defensive snaps so far. White hasn't put up many stats either, with just one tackle recorded, but when watching him on the field, it is obvious that he has a special skillset. With Judon now out for a good amount of time, White’s snap count should go up, and he will have more opportunities to prove himself.

Coming out of the combine, White was an obvious specimen, standing at 6’5’ and weighing 285 pounds, while scoring a high athleticism score of 82. White was a projected first to second round pick.

White’s high draft status can be attributed to his impressive tape from his final collegiate season at Georgia Tech. In his senior season, White recorded 14 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, along with 54 total tackles in 12 starts. White's performance earned him third-team All-ACC notice. White likely came into his final season with a chip on his shoulder, having a lackluster junior year due to injury after transferring from Old Dominion.

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White started his college career at Old Dominion as a three-star recruit out of Garner, North Carolina, where he started on offense and defense at Garner High School. After putting up 20 receptions for 247 yards and four touchdowns in his senior season at Garner, White was originally recruited to Old Dominion as a tight end. White then made the switch to defensive end his sophomore season.

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In his first season as a defensive end, White thrived, recording 62 total tackles, 19 of which for loss, tying an Old Dominion school record, along with 3.5 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. White’s sophomore performance earned him second-team All-Conference USA. Unfortunately, the Monarchs would not play in 2020 due to Covid-19 related matters. This would be when White would transfer to Georgia Tech.

When watching White’s college and NFL tape, there is a visible aggressiveness in his game, along with freakish athleticism. White seems to be the perfect combination of size and speed, power and finesse. The 285-pound defensive end can stop quickly and change direction when dealing with a mobile quarterback or fast running back, as well as plugging holes in the line.

Photo C/O to @PFF_College on

White exhibits raw power, being able to just simply push guys back and dominate at the line of scrimmage, at the same time, he has excellent hand and foot work to get off blocks. The rookie appears to be versatile, being able to play on both edges and in the middle. White's pass rush game is equally as good as his run stuff game. Not to mention, once the rookie gets to the point of attack, he has no problem delivering the boom. White seems to be an all-around good football player, exactly what the Patriots need.

It will not be surprising to see more of the second-round pick in the coming weeks, with Judon’s return date being uncertain. It will be interesting to see if White can keep up his explosive and aggressive play style if his snap count goes up. According to White's draft profile, one of his strengths is his motor.

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White and the Patriots will look to put the embarrassing loss behind them as they gear up for a home game against the New Orleans Saints this coming Sunday. The defense will again have its hands full, trying to contain guys such as Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, and Chris Olave. With Saints quarterback Derek Carr being more of a pocket passer, the pass rush will be key in this game, meaning guys like White and Josh Uche will have to step up to the challenge. White’s services could also be used in stopping the all-powerful Kamara, who is getting off to a hot start after his return from suspension.

Currently at 1-3, New England desperately needs a win, and looking at the schedule ahead, this appears to be one of the more winnable games. The Saints are currently 2-2, but boast a good amount of offensive talent, so the Patriots defensive effort will once again be key in this one. Keep an eye out for number 99!

Make sure to check out for your local sports updates! - WD

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