Whiteside feels bigger than 6-2”, largely because of how physical he plays. (Sometimes it seems like an extra tight end inadvertently walked onto the field.) In fact, Whiteside does everything so big that one out of every five catches in his career went for a touchdown.
Whiteside excels in traffic, using his physicality to first locate the defender, then box him out and high-point the ball like a power forward cleaning up the boards. The ability to bully defenders translates especially well to the redzone, where a contested catch becomes six points.
Between the 20s, however, Whiteside’s physical play works against him; when he initiates contact, defenders are constantly with him. This narrows the already small throwing windows created by Whiteside’s lack of speed. (He is also slow out of breaks, tends to round off routes, and has a habit of double-catching the ball.) Perhaps the most telling thing about Whiteside’s tape is that whenever Stanford needed a big-time first down between the 20s, the ball went to TE Kaden Smith.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s NFL future is cloudy, but there’s always a possibility of him converting to a move tight end. Either way, his value will come from touchdowns, which are unpredictable at best.