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April 24, 2012If there is a former Bronco qualified to talk about the quality of Jordan White as a receiver, it is four-year standout quarterback Tim Hiller.
Hiller, now the head football coach at Gull Lake High School in Richland, Mich., had the opportunity to play with NFLers Greg Jennings and Tony Scheffler at WMU as well as White and standout Jamarko Simmons.
"I probably wouldn't be talking to you right now if I didn't have the three of them," Hiller said while taking in WMU's Brown and Gold spring game. "Those three guys plus Tony Scheffler, all four of them made me look extremely good, time and time again. You're only as good as your guys around you when you're a quarterback."
Hiller has some experience with the process that White is now going through. After his senior season at Western Michigan, Hiller was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Indianapolis Colts shortly after the 2010 NFL Draft. While he didn't make the team and is no longer pursuing a career in the league, Hiller knows what entering as a late round pick or undrafted free agent is all about.
White is more likely to be drafted after a 2011 campaign in which he lead the NCAA in catches and receiving yards, but he will be no lock to make a roster as he will likely be a third-day pick. Hiller advised the 23-year-old not to make a huge deal of the draft itself, something that White appears to have taken to heart.
"I'm just going to be at home with friends and family, not exactly a draft party but just a little get-together and celebration of success," White said.
The concern for White at this stage is his straight-line speed, something that may cause teams to pass on him following a 4.69 forty yard dash at the NFL Combine. White improved that number to about 4.57 at last month's WMU Pro Day, but neither time is great for an NFL wide receiver.
Hiller said that while he understands this concern, there are other things White brings to the table that overshadow his somewhat slower forty time.
"I saw his forty time, and it probably wasn't what he hoped it would be, but I really don't," Hiller said when asked if he thought speed was a concern. "I just think it's overrated, and his field speed, you're not seeing him get caught from behind a lot when he's out here. He's not afraid to go across the middle, to block. Some of the catches he makes are unbelievable, acrobatic, jumping, tough in traffic. Those are the type of things that catch someone's eye."
White also has some history of knee injuries, which is something that NFL teams will take into consideration. In this case, however, White has overcome them to become stronger than ever, and may even be able to turn the injury history into a positive. He spent six years at WMU following a traditional redshirt and a medical redshirt, and shows no signs now of being slowed by his knees.
"He's got tons of game experience. It was rocky the first few years when he was going through the injuries, but I think it shows coaches that he's going to maintain his character throughout adversity and be a guy they can count on," Hiller said.
Comparisons to Greg Jennings are a natural part of any receiver's life at WMU, and White takes this in stride, feeling that he compares favorably. White compliled 4,187 yards receiving on 306 catches, surpassing Jennings' 3,539 yard mark.
White does not expect to be taken as high as Jennings, a 2006 second round pick, was. This doesn't worry him, though, as he said that given the chance he believes he can have similar success.
"There's some of the same guys that passed on Jennings, and now they're probably kicking themselves," White said.
The 2012 NFL Draft begins this Thursday and runs until Saturday, April 28.
Round 1 - Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network)
Rounds 2 and 3 - Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network)
Rounds 4 through 7 - Saturday, April 28 at 12 p.m. ET (ESPN and NFL Network)
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