Early in the draft season, many experts predicted that the San Francisco 49ers would use their top pick on West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White, considered a mid-first-round prospect at the time.
But after a headline-grabbing week in Indianapolis, it appears likely that the 49ers will have to move up from 15th overall if they wish to draft the 6-foot-3, 215-pound pass-catcher.
White dazzled scouts with his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, running the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.35 seconds and displaying strong hands and top-tier ball skills during his positional drills.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, White's workout "officially makes him a freak." Meanwhile, NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared the wideout to Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones and said he was the best receiver on the field at the combine – even ahead of Alabama's Amari Cooper.
"I don't feel that any receiver can do what I can do," White told reporters on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. "Whether it's blocking, creating space, taking a tunnel screen to the house, I do it all. I'm not saying that to be cocky, just confident. I feel like I'm one of a kind."
White always had the skill and body frame to excel at the highest level, but his path to the pros was uncertain until he arrived at Lackawanna Junior College in Scranton Pa., where he focused on his studies and eventually became Division I eligible.
"What I learned is that hard work definitely pays off," White said. "A lot of guys there had great talent and should have definitely been Division I, but they didn't work hard, so they didn't make it up."
In his first year at West Virginia, however, White didn't perform as well as he had hoped – finishing the season with 35 catches for 507 yards.
"My junior year I put bad film out there," White said. "And that's not the kind of receiver, the kind of player I am. So going into my senior year, I just put everything on the line and did what I had to do. And it finally clicked."
Indeed it did. As a senior last fall, White amassed 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Couple that with his stellar showing in Indianapolis and White has firmly placed himself in the conversation to be the first receiver drafted come April.
"Everyone dreams of being the first draft pick at their position," White said. "It would mean a lot I'm sure to Amari Cooper and the other receivers as well."
With his size and speed, White clearly fits the mold general manager Trent Baalke outlined for the team's ideal pass-catcher, but whether or not the 49ers are able to bring him to San Francisco remains to be seen.