As the 2005 college football season was winding down, there were some outside observers of the USC team who believed a good case could be made that LenDale White was actually a better NFL prospect than teammate Reggie Bush, Heisman Trophy aside.
On Sunday, any such argument disappeared as Bush put on a fine performance during the school’s annual pro day for NFL scouts. The only thing fine that White did was dining with the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.
White weighed in at 244 pounds, up six pounds from the doughy 238 pounds he displayed at the NFL scouting combine in February. White also did his best not to display much by wearing a loose-fitting warm-up suit for the entire workout. This was after White drew audible groans from NFL scouts when he bared his chest at the combine.
As one NFL general manager said after seeing White at the combine: “The guy needed a bra, it was ridiculous. You come to the combine looking like that and you want to be a first-round pick? Come on. The guy had obviously been doing nothing.”
On Sunday, White benched 225 pounds all of 15 times. That’s one more than USC punter Tom Malone and nine less than Bush, who White happens to outweigh by 42 pounds. After doing the bench, White called it a day. He didn’t run the 40-yard dash or do any of the other myriad of drills that so many scouts and coaches were looking forward to.
Perhaps this is why so many people are now thinking of White in company with Maurice Clarett than with Bush.
“We had one of our scouts go up and ask him what was going on (after White didn’t run),” another executive said. “The kid said his hamstring was tight or something like that. Then we tried to find out when he was going to run and he didn’t know. It didn’t even sound like he was going to run. What does this kid think?”
Three scouts and coaches who saw him said Bush didn’t do anything to hurt himself, and the notion that he might fall from the top spot in the draft seemed far-fetched. While it’s possible that Houston will trade out of the No. 1 spot, the thought is that it’s only because they will get a great offer. Not because Bush didn’t impress them.
But the point in all of this is that Bush took care of his business when he could have been the one living off his body of work the past two years. White did not. In fact, he showed to NFL people what so many people at USC have seen since he got there.
Lots of ability. Little work ethic.
There is growing talk that Buffalo may be ready to part ways with quarterback J.P. Losman. There has been some quiet talk about the team trading him for whatever it can get after the front office, now under the guidance of former coach Marv Levy, determined that Losman doesn’t have a lot of support on the team.
Beyond that, the signing of backup Craig Nall wasn’t simply to be a third-stringer. Nall was told when he signed that he would be competing for playing time. That’s surprising considering the direction the team appeared to be going last season with Losman.
But Losman is an excitable player who doesn’t understand the finer points of simply winning games. He is much too caught up in pleasing himself. When he was at Tulane, teammates groused that he was more concerned with showing off his arm strength than actually running the offense.
The unfortunate part about this is that former general manager Tom Donahoe, who made the 2004 trade up to get Losman, is pretty much shot when it comes to getting another job of authority around the NFL. Donahoe’s four first-round picks with Buffalo are prototypical boom-bust stuff. He took solid cornerback Nate Clements in 2001, but followed that up in 2002 with offensive lineman Mike Williams, a colossal bust.
Donahoe rolled the dice in 2003 on running back Willis McGahee and then got wide receiver Lee Evans in 2004 before the move to get Losman. To get Losman, Donahoe gave up a second rounder that year and a first-round pick in 2005. Now, after only two years (and really only one of actually playing), Losman appears to be history.
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