In his rookie season, Kyzir White turned some heads during training camp after being drafted in the fourth round as a safety converted to linebacker. Two games into the 2017 season, he intercepts Josh Allen in a week two matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
He ends up missing the rest of the year due to injury. In 2018, he was rebounding from the previous injury but wasn't all the way back. The following year he made some strides and finished with 70 tackles.
Going into his fourth NFL season, he looks much improved.
"I just feel like I'm not thinking as much," said White. "When you kind of cut that off and don't do as much thinking and just play football. I feel like I'm better off I feel like sometimes, the past few years, I was overthinking some things, and it was making me play a little slower. Now I just try to go out there, have a relaxed mind, and just play football. I've been doing this my whole life. So, it was nothing new."
This is a new defense with Brandon Staley at the helm. It has new wrinkles, which has a lot of players excited.
"He's always prepared, he puts us in the best situations to succeed," said White.
White is flying all over the field in practice and making plays. After wrapping up a player for a tackle for loss, he makes sure to yell something out to get the defense hyped.
Last Wednesday, White was in coverage against receiver Jalen Guyton to whom quarterback Justin Herbert threw to, but the linebacker batted the ball down.
"I'm still not where I want to be," explained White. "But I just thought to get 1% better each day, man. Keep trying to critique myself, not get complacent, and then just be accountable help my team out."
He has a unique vision on the field.
"Playing that safety position, when you see them in coverage, and even in the run game, it's never too big for him," said defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill. "I call him the bully because regardless of who he is going against, he is really imposing on them. Size doesn't matter, it's about attitude, and he has the attitude."
There was a play during Saturday's game where he sniffed out the screen pass and came running up to defend against it. It was a tackle for loss for about five yards. He got up, flexed, and let the Rams know about it.
"I love Kyzir, man," said Tranquill. "He's a guy that has had to battle some injuries himself and is coming back. He's another guy in our room that's really versatile. He can do a lot of different things. He had a huge pick on day two or day three that was just awesome. It's great whenever we can make plays on defense and get excited."
The combination of White, Tranquill, and second-year linebacker Kenneth Murray will make for a good rotation. Last Saturday, Murray didn't play, so both Tranquill and White picked up the slack.
Adding those three with the other playmakers on the defense like Derwin James, Michael Davis, and others should make this a solid defense.
"We know we want to be a top-five defense for sure," explained White. "We want to create turnovers. We want to play fast. We want to show up on film playing fast, running to the ball at all times throughout the game even when we tire fatigue just be a championship defense."
As previously mentioned, White says he is still not where he wants to be but feels like he is getting better each day. He has areas he wants to improve on this season.
"I want to get better at getting off blocks quicker," White explained. "When I'm tired and fatigued, staying disciplined with my technique. Make more turnovers, get my hands on the ball more. I didn't have any turnovers last year, so just all the way around the board. I just want to get better."
He has been moving around a lot better and making numerous plays. The trio at linebacker could make this defense even better, especially with this defense allowing them to play freer.
White knew he had to make some changes in the offseason, and so far, they are paying off.
"This is the heaviest I've ever been, so I'm feeling really good," said White. "I'm just ready to get this regular season started and go out there with my brothers and compete."