The Buffalo Bills need help at linebacker. We knew this would be the case when former first-round pick Tremaine Edmunds signed with the Chicago Bears this offseason. Rather than adding a veteran, Buffalo spent a third-round pick on a linebacker for the second-straight year.
And, for the second-straight year, the team has decided that rookie linebacker is more a backup to their weakside linebacker than he is a contender for time at middle linebacker. While the 2022 vintage of third-round linebacker is set to compete for that middle linebacker job, the 2023 varietal is focusing on backing up last year’s All-Pro.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we discuss the newest of Buffalo’s linebackers — another rookie who took an unconventional route to training camp this year.
Name: DaShaun White
Height/Weight: 6’, 225 pounds
Age: 23 (24 on 1/2/2024)
Experience/Draft: R; undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2023 USFL Draft by the Michigan Panthers.
Acquired: Signed with Buffalo on 8/22/2023
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Given how recently White signed, nothing beyond the length of the deal — one year — has been made public. However, we assume it’s for the league minimum for a rookie, which means White would be set to earn $750,000 if he makes the roster. That would also be his cap number. We also assume there’s no guaranteed money on the contract.
2022 Recap: White was quite productive for the Sooners as a fifth-year senior, racking up a career-high 90 tackles in 13 starts. That total was good for third on the team and an honorable mention on the coaches’ All-Big 12 team. He also had six pass breakups, two interceptions, two sacks, and six tackles for loss on the year. He didn’t secure an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine, but his Pro Day numbers were as follows: a 4.74-second 40-yard dash, 12 bench reps at 225 pounds, a 33.5” vertical, a 9’9” broad jump, and a 7.34-second three-cone time. Those numbers aren’t eye-popping in any category, and it wasn’t a surprise that he went undrafted in the NFL Draft. He was selected by the Michigan Panthers of the USFL, and he appeared in four games with the club, totaling seven tackles on the year.
Positional outlook: White joins a linebacker group that has little clarity outside of Matt Milano being a legitimate stud. After that, Tyrel Dodson, Terrel Bernard, A.J. Klein, and Baylon Spector are all vying for the right to play next to Milano, with Tyler Matakevich looking to retain his role as a top-flight special teams player. Travin Howard and Dorian Williams are the other linebackers on the roster.
2023 Offseason: This is White’s first NFL camp experience.
2023 Season outlook: White isn’t the savior we asked for, but for the last preseason game, he may be the savior we need in the sense that he’ll provide cover for some of the other players who are going to make the 53-man roster. The middle linebacker competition has gone about as poorly as could be thus far, with Dodson proving unable to pull away, Bernard spending much of the time injured, Klein looking like the solid, unspectacular veteran that he is, and Spector proving some flashes, but nothing much.
I don’t expect White to come in and start at middle linebacker, nor do I expect him to make the team. But, if he has a good week of practice and plays well on Saturday against the Chicago Bears, the young man could parlay the opportunity into a spot on Buffalo’s practice squad or a place on one of the other 31 NFL rosters.