Rookie Week: Manuel White

As the Redskins rookies convene at Redskins Park to try to give Joe Gibbs and company a good first impression, we take a look at some of the draftees and rookie free agents and assess the impact they could have on the team. Today, a candidate to fill the vacant power back position, Manuel White.

Manuel White

How acquired: Drafted 4th round (120)
Position: Fullback and H-Back
Expected role: Short-yardage and goal-line situations, special teams
Chances of making the team: 90%
Who he would replace: Rock Cartwright

The Redskin scored just six touchdowns rushing in 2005, an embarrassingly low number for a Joe Gibbs team. In the glory days, Gibbs' Skins would score six times on the ground in two or three games.

There were two reasons for this paltry lack of TD's via land. One was the spotty performance of the offensive line, which didn't make anyone forget the old Hogs. The other one was the lack of a power back that could take advantage of whatever cracks the O-line could provide.

Enter, via the fourth round of the draft, Manuel White out of UCLA. While Gibbs was making his "secret" trip to visit Auburn QB Jason Campbell a few days before the draft, two Redskins coaches, running back coach Ernest Byner and tight ends coach Rennie Simmons, were visiting White in Los Angeles. In one of those deals that worked out just as they had hoped, the Redskins traded back from 112th overall to acquire this selection from Minnesota, a move that also netted them the 154th pick. They got the man they wanted, White, at the 120th spot and picked up Louisville linebacker Robert McCune with the extra selection they netted.

White battled some injuries early in his career and shared time as a senior, rushing for just 764 yards in 2004. But his size makes him a good choice for goal-line situations and a possibility at H-back.

"Whenever I get close to the end zone, I have a knack for getting it in there," White said. "That's just something I take pride in doing, not being denied."

Said Gibbs: "We think he's a good runner with the ball. He's big; he'll give you a goal-line guy to knock people back."

If things work out like the Redskins would like them to, look for Gerald Riggs circa 1991 lines from White: Four carries, six yards, two touchdowns plus a fourth and short conversion.

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