Opportunity Knocking For Bears' Kerrith Whyte Jr.

Matt Nagy sees the potential for Whyte to have a contributing role.

Chris Emma
August 12, 2019 - 11:25 am

(670 The Score) To hear his name called in the seventh round of the NFL Draft in April brought Bears running back Kerrith Whyte Jr. all the joy he ever imagined. He also understood the particular opportunity that awaited him as well.

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Whyte joined an organization that in 2018 sent a trio of Day 3 draft picks to the Pro Bowl and is led by a coach in Matt Nagy who makes a point to use every weapon available in his offense. So, Whyte understood the magnitude of being selected by the Bears.

"When I heard my name when I was getting drafted by the Chicago Bears, it was truly a blessing," Whyte said. "I was happy, shedding tears and enjoying the moment with my family. 

"Just to be a part of this organization is truly awesome and truly a blessing. I'm forever grateful for it."

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After a brief injury setback for Whyte early in training camp -- foot and hamstring injuries sidelined him for a few days -- Nagy and the Bears have started implementing him into their offense. Whyte carried six times for 35 yards in the Bears' preseason opener last Thursday, including a 23-yard scamper in which he flashed vision and speed. Whyte also hauled in a seven-yard reception.

Whyte can expect to see plenty of work in the next three preseason games. It's a vital part of this opportunity.

"You saw he has some speed," Nagy said. "He bounces off to the edge. He can go ahead and make some plays. He’s going to get more and more reps in the offseason to see what he can do, but mentally he’s done well. 

"I like where he’s at."

Whyte rushed 134 times for 866 yards and eight touchdowns at Florida Atlantic last season, finding success while working in a complementary role with Devin Singletary, who was taken in the third round by the Bills -- one pick after the Bears drafted running back David Montgomery.

Whyte chose to forgo his senior season at Florida Atlantic and head to the NFL, believing he was ready for the next level. He understood another year in college would likely boost his stock toward the middle of the draft, something coach Lane Kiffin had helped explain. But Whyte wasn't concerned about draft position. All he wanted was a chance.

The Bears are prepared to work with three rotating running backs in fellow rookie Montgomery, veteran Mike Davis and Pro Bowl selection Tarik Cohen. But there could be room for more in Nagy's offense. The Bears don't have a fullback on their roster this season, which opens up another roster spot.

Given how Nagy utilizes his skill players on offense, a player like Whyte will be competing with a potential fourth tight end or seventh receiver for a place on the 53-man roster. It's why every carry and catch of his in the preseason will prove to be important.

"A lot of people say they're trying to prove everyone wrong," Whyte said. "I just try to prove everyone who believes in me right. 

"At the end of the day, all you need is one out of all the 32 teams."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.