Ever since Indianapolis, there has been one name that the Buccaneers have been heavily linked to regardless of where you’re looking. That is LSU standout linebacker Devin White. With the shift to the 3-4 defense and the loss of Kwon Alexander, the Bucs find themselves with a big need at linebacker, even following the first wave of free agency.
White is a player that would make a lot of sense for the Bucs come April, but let’s get to know him a little bit first;
Devin White’s Career
White played in 34 games in his three year career as an LSU Tiger, including thirteen games each of the last two years. He finished with 286 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, one interception, nine passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles.
White was the anchor of the defense at LSU, dominating with his sideline to sideline speed and pursuit. He was a 2018 consensus All-American and the 2018 Butkus Award recipient, awarded to the nation’s best linebacker. He was number one in tackles in the SEC in 2018 and tenth in all the NCAA in tackles in 2017. He also finished second in the SEC in solo tackles and fifth in the SEC in forced fumbles in 2018.
Plain and simple, he’s the best all around inside linebacker in the draft. He’s the most well rounded and will start immediately - which is exactly what you’re looking for in a first round pick, especially in the top ten. His speed (4.42 40-yard dash) allows him to close quickly and never be out of a play. That sideline to sideline speed can open things up for Lavonte David to get more blitzing opportunities, where he excels when given the opportunity. He has coverage abilities and the size to match up against the tight ends in the NFL if called upon.
Has a tendency to over-pursue, much like Kwon Alexander did for the Bucs. Not a severe enough problem to drop him down draft boards, but able to be fixed with coaching. Still has some problems reading blocks properly, but has shown massive growth in that area at LSU. It was a problem for him that he has worked hard to correct, but still room for more growth.
Why The Buccaneers Need Him
Well, the Bucs need a Costco sized pack of linebackers to come in and help get this defense where it needs to be. They are off to a decent start with Kevin Minter returning as well as the signings of Shaq Barrett and Deone Bucannon. Although Bucannon is more of a hybrid, he will get plenty of looks in the front seven. White can anchor the middle of the defense for years to come and won’t be the liability Alexander was at times in coverage. As I stated earlier, he also opens things up for David who defensive coordinator Todd Bowles can get creative with in blitz packages. Plain and simple - White helps this defense in all facets of the game.
Will It Happen?
Unless a player like Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen falls, I think Bucs fans need to get used to the idea of this guy wearing pewter and red. Could he still be drafted in a trade back scenario? Possibly. However, the deal has to be right. Jason Licht is always willing to move up or down in the draft as long the compensation is there. That said, if the deal isn’t right, the Bucs will stay at five and take a player they love. They certainly love Devin White.