In the Chargers’ 31-20 week two victory over the Buffalo Bills, safety-turned-linebacker Kyzir White walked away with the second-highest game grade on the entire team with an 86.7. The grade was good for fourth among all linebackers across the league while his coverage grade of 90.5 was second-best among his position group.
For those that forgot, White was technically a safety during his time at West Virginia. His position, nicknamed the “star” on the Mountaineers defense, was a hybrid role where White could use his plus-size and physicality to step into the box and defend larger receivers and reinforce the run defense.
In Gus Bradley’s defense, White gets to thrive in a similar role, one that was made famous by the Arizona Cardinals and how they use Deone Buccanon as an uber-athletic linebacker even though he weights just 215 pounds.
White is tasked with being the “run-and-chase” backer. He gets to clean up the backside of runs and shut down any attempts to slip a player out of the weakside of the formation.
To help ice the contest against Buffalo, and put an exclamation mark on his stellar performance in coverage, White diagnosed a pair of crossing routes as the Bills attempted to throw themselves out of the shadow of their own endzone. While easily staying stride-for-stride with the tight end, White jumped in front of the underthrown pass to record the first interception of his NFL career.
And, for what it’s worth, it’s not to see the Chargers with a linebacker that didn’t have to sacrifice height for athleticism. I know this may be nit-picky, but it’s just never sat right with me that the Chargers have played the last two seasons with guys like Denzel Perryman (5’11), Jatavis Brown (5’11), and Hayes Pullard (6’0) roaming the middle of the defense.
White gives the Chargers a type of player that they haven’t had in recent years and should be used as a prototype going forward.