After making headlines for making the biggest steal of the draft in the first round, the Patriots were front-page news again but for a much different reason this time.
Unfortunately, selecting an incredible talent with their 46th overall pick in Keion White wasn’t what had everyone talking about. Instead, his reaction to being drafted by the Patriots caught their attention, so much so that the moment went viral.
Most were chalking it up to White feeling displeased about going to a team working through a rebuild. But the video clip lacked context, as it was shown a moment before he was told he was going to New England.
The news was picked up so quickly that White even had to address it during a conference call with media after the draft. He reiterated that he was “a pretty chill person,” explaining that he’s not “very explosive in excitement in any form.”
Apparently, that part of his personality worked against him, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, who reported that teams who interviewed White felt he was too buttoned up, thus the reason he slipped to the second round.
"“White’s stone-faced reaction to being selected in the second round by the Patriots probably wasn’t a surprise to NFL teams that interviewed him leading into the draft. The 24-year-old White described himself as an all-business type of guy, ultra-serious, and scouts from multiple teams relayed that came through in attempts to better connect with him in the interview process. That’s one reason those scouts believe White, who was invited by the NFL to attend the draft in Kansas City, Missouri, because he was projected as a first-round pick, slipped into the second round.”"
It’s a strange reason to push a prospect to the back of the pile, especially considering how talented White is. But, of course, some teams take interviews very seriously, and some allow them to be the determining factor in drafting a player. But the Patriots were not deterred by his demeanor, as they are all too familiar with it, given who the head coach is.
What makes the pick even more intriguing now, knowing the backstory to his stock dropping, is that Belichick and Co. were reportedly unsuccessful in trading back into the first round. At the time, there was no indication of who they were hoping to snag before the night’s end, but Reiss revealed they were trying to do so to draft White early.
"“They were high on White and considered moving back into the first round to select the defensive end before ultimately deciding the price would be too rich. White was also among a small group of players under consideration after the trade back from No. 14.”"
They say people’s losses are other people’s gain, which appears to ring true here for White and the Patriots.
If he can be the type of player he was in college in New England and build upon that, the teams that chose to pass on him for feeling his personality was too flat will be kicking themselves for making such a foolish decision.