It happens every year. Some time between your favorite team’s final game and the days after the Super Bowl, excitement for draft season heats up. It’s a fun time, right? New mock drafts are coming out day after day, and conversations begin about the future. People begin picking their favorite prospects and having dialogue about team needs heading into April.
Then, a little after the NFL Scouting Combine, things tend to go downhill. Those same conversations grow tired. That healthy dialogue turns into online arguments that will never result in one side changing their opinion. The first big wave of free agency puts the draft talk on the back burner, then mid-March hits and it’s “can the draft just hurry up and get here already?” season.
That’s where we are now. And with the latest mock draft from NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks, the same argument within the Buccaneers’ fan base is going to pick back up and divide opinion in a way that is neither fun nor fresh.
That’s right, with the No. 5 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, Brooks has Tampa Bay selecting LSU linebacker Devin White. Here’s what he has to say about the selection:
The sideline-to-sideline playmaker is a perfect fit for Todd Bowles’ attack-style defense.
White has been a big topic of debate around “Bucs Twitter” for a long time now. It started with the team’s rumored interest in the 2018 All-American and Butkus Award winner. One half of the fan base is with Brooks, saying that White is a can’t-miss prospect, one that would make an instant impact in Todd Bowles’ defense. He made plays all over the field while at LSU, racking up 256 tackles (157 solo), 7.5 sacks, nine passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his last two seasons. With the Bucs in need of help at linebacker after the departure of Kwon Alexander, White makes a ton of sense. He would fit well with what Bowles wants to do on that side of the ball.
However, the other side of the fence is insistent on one of two points: 1.) White isn’t a surefire prospect, and he isn’t worth a top-five or top-10 pick and 2.) No off-ball linebacker should ever be picked with a top-five pick. The debate between the two sides does nothing but go in circles over and over again. It’s this year’s version of the Derwin James/Dalvin Cook/Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota arguments for Bucs fans.
To me, picking White at No. 5 would be just fine. With the way Brooks’ mock works out, it seems like the former Tiger is the best/surest pick available for Tampa Bay. After Kyler Murray going No. 1 to Arizona, Brooks has a run on defensive linemen. He goes with Quinnen Williams to San Francisco, Nick Bosa to New York and Josh Allen to Oakland. That scenario leaves the Bucs at No. 5 with their choice of White, offensive tackles Jonah Williams or Jawaan Taylor and defensive tackle Ed Oliver, among others. With the shape that the roster is in now, White is the right pick there.
Now, if Tampa Bay could trade down and still land White, that would be a huge win. But if White really is the guy that the front office is locked in on, taking a chance that he might get snatched up by someone else might not be smart.
Regardless, the decision-makers with the Bucs won’t be able to make everyone happy no matter what they do. There will always be complaining and arguing on Twitter. With that said, argue away... For a whole ‘nother month...