Devin White always has been a horse guy.
He first rode a horse at age 5, when he asked a friend down the street of his “country town” Louisiana neighborhood if he could give it a try. He owns four horses – though it’s more like seven or eight if you include his father’s horses, which he also cares for – and considers all of them “my kids.” He went viral last fall when he rode one of his horses inside LSU’s Tiger Stadium.
Now, the linebacker hopes to be a workhorse for whoever drafts him.
White is widely regarded as one of the top players in the NFL Draft – and for good reason. The Butkus Award winner and All-American totaled 286 tackles (including 28 1/2 for loss), 8 1/2 sacks, four forced fumbles and three interceptions in three seasons at LSU.
It’s that complete resume that has White a likely top-10 pick on Thursday night in Nashville.
In a league that increasingly asks its linebackers to do more, White could find a home early in the draft with a team that needs a versatile, do-it-all player in the heart of its defense.
“I don’t have to come off the field,” White said Wednesday via phone from Nashville. “I can be on the field on first down. I can be on the field second down, third down, goal-line situations when they’re going to run the ball right at me. I can be on the field for coverage, I can be on the field for a blitz.
“I think just I’m a complete, overall three-down linebacker, and that’s what I think the NFL is looking for because you don’t have too many of those guys nowadays.”
One of those teams with a need: the Giants, who pick sixth overall and could use an infusion of talent all over their defense. White said he watched his own game film with Giants linebackers coach Bill McGovern at the NFL Scouting Combine and also visited the team’s facility. The Giants haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since taking Carl Banks third overall in 1984, but White said it would be “wonderful” if the Giants picked him.
“I think the market out there is very great,” he said. “I can really thrive in that market because I’m a great player and I’m a really unique person. I like to spread messages all across the world, so I think it’d be wonderful.”
As a two-time captain at LSU, he also could help fill the leadership void that opened when Landon Collins left for Washington in free agency. White says he thinks his leadership ability is one of his “unique characteristics.”
“I’m all about brotherhood, and I know that’s what it takes to win games . . . If everybody’s on the same page we can reach our goals,” he said. “So I think I can bring that leadership of just having everybody on the same page.”
Not to mention he wouldn’t have to go far to give his horses a workout after finishing one of his own at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
“They had showed me right across from their practice field, they have a big horse track over there,” he said, referring to the Meadowlands Racetrack. “So I’m sure there’s a small little country outskirt that’s not too far from the practice facility where I can live and keep my horses.”
White was speaking from an event to promote Braun’s efforts in getting the prospects groomed and ready for Thursday night. The draft's red carpet usually is full of unique fashion statements, and while White wouldn’t say what he plans on wearing, he did promise that he would "look fresh" and be “the best dressed, the best-best-best dressed” player in attendance.
“Everybody should take notice,” he said of his draft-night look.
They may take notice of him after Thursday night, too.