The Chicago Bears selected him seventh overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
However, ever since that selection, White’s career has been on a downward tailspin.
White has appeared in just 17 games since his rookie year in 2016.
He didn’t play at all in 2019 and has played more than five games in a season just once; when he played nine in 2018.
But even during that 2018 season, White caught just four passes for 92 yards.
Overall, the former West Virginia Mountaineer has just 25 receptions for 285 scoreless yards in his NFL career.
Recently, White signed with the New Orleans Saints.
And the Saints are now signing WR Kevin White, per source. https://t.co/amCNgNuWzF
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 17, 2021
At 29, he will look to revamp his NFL career.
However, unless White goes on to have a record-breaking All-Pro season in New Orleans, which seems highly unlikely, he will go down as one of the biggest busts in the past decade.
First and foremost, White’s label of bust comes predominantly from his inability to stay on the field.
Which is of no fault to White himself.
During his time in Chicago, White dealt with shin, fibula, and shoulder injuries.
He was placed on injured reserve his first three seasons in Chicago.
He didn’t play at all as a rookie.
Of course, when drafting a player, no one could predict injuries.
White’s 4.35 40-yard dash time was certainly tantalizing for the Bears.
However, White’s career will always be defined by those injuries.
He will forever be a, “what if,” kind of player.
What if he lived up to being the seventh overall pick?
What if he never got injured and played a full slate of games?
Those questions will forever be rhetorical but will also forever tell the story of White’s tenure in Chicago.
Cooper Vs. White
Heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, there was a big debate as to who was the top wide receiver in the class between White and Alabama’s Amari Cooper.
It's interesting to listen to @nfl coaches and scouts debate Amari Cooper vs. Kevin White. Scouts favor White; Coaches seem to like Cooper
— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) March 14, 2015
Daniel Jeremiah, who currently works for NFL Network and had worked as a college scout for numerous NFL franchises in the past, actually had White as the number two player on his top 50 list.
Cooper was ranked third.
On the flip side, Bucky Brooks, who like Jeremiah is an ex-scout who works for the NFL Network, had Cooper as his number one receiver in the 2015 class.
There was a lot to like about White coming out of college as a fast receiver who could go up and make the contested catch.
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) October 18, 2016
But to this point, Cooper has had the better career and it isn’t relatively close.
Cooper has appeared in 93 games over his six-year career, never missing more than two games in a season.
He has caught 449 passes for 6,211 yards and 38 touchdowns.
He has been named to the Pro Bowl four times.
The Las Vegas Raiders, who were based in Oakland at the time, made Cooper the first wide receiver taken in the 2015 NFL Draft, selecting him fourth overall.
While they would eventually trade him to the Dallas Cowboys, they clearly made the right decision in taking Cooper over White.
The 2015 NFL Draft
Hindsight is 20/20.
Looking back, it’s hard to fault the Bears for taking an explosive wide receiver who many draft pundits had at the top of their big board.
However, now that his tenure in Chicago is long gone, it’s hard to ignore the players they missed out on.
Looking at strictly wide receiver, the next one taken was DeVante Parker at 14th overall to the Miami Dolphins.
While he has struggled with injuries in his own right, Parker has caught 298 passes for 4,212 yards and 22 touchdowns in his career.
Looking at the first round in its entirety, six first-round picks taken after White have made at least one Pro Bowl.
Vic Beasley (No. 8, Falcons), Todd Gurley (No. 10, Rams), Andrus Peat (No. 13, Saints), Melvin Gordon (No. 15, Chargers), Marcus Peters (No. 18, Chiefs), and Byron Jones (No. 27, Cowboys) all earned the Pro Bowl nod.
In drafting White, Chicago was looking to land an offensive weapon that could potentially change how the team functioned on offense.
Looking back, it’s fair to wonder where the Bears would be right now if they had never drafted White with the seventh overall pick.