Updated May 7, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
While the majority of NFL scouting departments are meeting in the month of April to finish their draft boards ahead of the impending NFL draft, some team scouts are on the road traveling to college campuses to start work on the draft that is a year away. These scouts share their player ratings with scouting services like National and Blesto. Every team in the NFL is either a member in National or Blesto, with more teams a part of National. Even though that draft is year away, some prospects create an early buzz. I caught up with one of those scouts to hear about who was generating some excitement among the National and Blesto scouts. One name that was quickly shared was LSU linebacker Devin White.
White had an excellent 2017 season, totaling 133 tackles with 14 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one interception. The 6-foot-1, 255-pounder didn't get the attention of other SEC linebackers like Roquan Smith and Rashaan Evans, who were first-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, but that could easily change this fall.
Here is how one of the National scouts summarized White:
"This kid could end up being similar to Ray Lewis. I'd take White over any of the linebackers this year. He's unbelievable. Unless he gets hurt or completely shuts it down to protect himself, he'll be the first linebacker drafted next year. He's the complete package. Great character. He's the signal caller of the defense with a super football IQ. He's big, sturdy, and stout enough for Mike - middle linebacker-. Swift enough for Will - weakside linebacker -, great athlete and coverage instincts. Stacks up the stat boxes, all of them. He's fast, an explosive tackler, and elite reactionary quickness.
"Right now, he's among the best, and maybe the best, I've scouted. Better athlete and versatility than [Dont'a] Hightower. More explosive, violent, and bigger than C.J. Mosley; same level of instincts. Better than Jerod Mayo at Tennessee. Bigger than Jonathan Vilma while being more violent and instinctive than D.J. Williams, same kind of freak athlete explosiveness-wise. Thumper like Sean Weatherspoon. Basically, [White is] a bigger version of Roquan Smith in the 240-250-pound range. He's FUN to watch. Unbelievable stamina and motor. He could be the best linebacker ever to come out of LSU."
That is certainly very high praise for White, and it will be interesting to see if he lives up to those comparisons and projection. However, that is the kind of feedback that the rest of teams' scouting departments will hear about White when they get started on the 2019 NFL Draft class.