Keion White was expecting to hear his name called early in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was not expecting it to be by the New England Patriots.
“I didn’t have any contact with the Patriots,” White said in his introductory conference call about the pre-draft process. “So, it was a surprise to me.”
While New England might not have been on his radar, he believes they’ll be a perfect match moving forward.
“I thought our personalities mix well, though. So I feel like it’s a really good fit,” White said. “I’m a very big businessperson, so I’m not too big into the glitz and glamour of football. I want to work, and I want to win. I feel like that’s what the Patriots offer, and I feel like that’s what we meet in the middle at.”
At 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, White is an explosive athlete with a powerful upper body. He has positional versatility across the defensive line, similar to the role Deatrich Wise has played for the Patriots.
White did not start playing on the defensive side of the ball until 2019, when he transitioned from tight end at Old Dominion. In his two healthy seasons as a starter, he flashed his potential recording 33 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in 24 games. But, his pass rush repertoire and technique continue to be a work in progress.
“There’s still so much stuff I have to learn from technique-wise, from just the game-wise, everything,” White said. “The transition was for the best. It got me to this point now. But I’m still working. I’m still improving because I feel like we all are.
“No matter if you’re an All-Pro player or a rookie, we’re all improving day-by-day. Because when you’re not improving, you’re getting worse.”
White has all the physical tools needed to be a true difference maker along the defensive line in the NFL. He hopes the pair with Bill Belichick and the Patriots will help him reach that ceiling.
“It’s great,” he said about getting to opportunity to play for Coach Belichick. “They do a really good job of developing their players. So being a part of that, knowing that I have an incredible amount of things I can improve on and learn for the game of football, I feel like there’s no better system I can go into.”