Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room No. 313: RB Rachaad White (ASU): Learn to Be the Bully

Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines 2022 NFL Draft prospect, Rachaad White, a productive running back from Arizona State who must learn to use his size effectively. 

Rachaad White has the frame to become a 220-pound running back in the NFL. Listed at 6’2″ and 210 pounds, White is like a promising pitcher with a limited arsenal of pitches. One of them is a knee-melting fastball that he doesn’t know how to apply to situational baseball.

Just like there’s a time and place where you need to move the batter off the plate, working into an open crease at the line of scrimmage with a linebacker waiting at the other side is often the time to be the bully.  White has to learn to read the pre-snap and post-snap keys that indicate when to be the aggressor.

If White doesn’t learn, he’s allowing the defense to dictate in situations where he should be the dictator. This forces White to always be in a reactive mode to whatever the defense does.

Good running backs dictate situations. To many of you, it may appear that they’re always responding to what the defense does. This isn’t the case.

When a good running back attacks downhill and initiates contact with the defender, especially a flat-footed option waiting passively in the crease, it sends the message that the defender better bring it because he’ll get tattooed all day if he doesn’t. This may sound like a claim for physical dominance, and it is, but there’s more to it.

Once the defender gets the message that the runner will head downhill, the typical response is to double-down and become more aggressive and physical. This gives the runner better opportunities to make the defender miss because the commitment to attacking takes place earlier.

If the defender doesn’t become more aggressive, then the runner can continue punishing until the defender has to respond in kind or the defender wilts. It’s a mind game that White must develop.

Until he does, he’s far more predictable to defenders than necessary. That’s a shame because there are physical skills in his game that an NFL team could exploit if White refines them.

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