By Scott Guthrie
Thousands of Bears fans endured temperatures in the 40s to give the team’s newest player a proper Chicago welcome.
Nearly two hours after the Bears picked former West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White seventh overall Thursday night in the 2015 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound speedster strolled onto the Draft Town stage to a chorus of cheers.
It’s nice to be drafted by the host city.
“It means a lot,” White said. “With Brandon Marshall leaving and playing alongside Alshon Jeffrey and having a great quarterback like Jay Cutler, just being one of the pieces of the puzzle, I’m very excited to help this team win some games.”
Bears fans also roared their approval when the selection first was announced. But they were able to do it again because Chicago introduced a Draft Town when snagging this year’s event.
“It’s a great pick,” said Chicagoan Gerald Blanc, 38. “Initially, I knew the Bears had to get a receiver. Honestly, I wanted Amari Cooper first, but I knew the probability of him being there at pick seven was unreasonable.
“Since we couldn’t get Cooper, we got the next available receiver, so I was really happy about that.”
Entering the draft, the Bears needed to address a number of holes, including at wide receiver and on defense. White replaces Marshall, who was exiled by the Bears to the Jets in the offseason, and look for defensive players in the later rounds.
One fan doesn’t get it.
“When you have the worst defense in the National Football League and you use the seventh pick on a wide receiver, it kind of makes you scratch your head,” said Tim Erle from Gary, Indiana.
It was no stretch for the Bears to draft the highly regarded White that high. Had the Jets passed on former USC defensive end Leonard Williams sixth overall, the Bears might have faced a tough decision.
Instead, they ended up with a potential offensive playmaker.
“I’m just going to do what I have to do, play with that swagger,” White said. “I’m going to talk on the field. I’m going to enjoy the game just like I did at West Virginia.
“The only difference is, I’m moving to Chicago.”