As mentioned before, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a glaring need at linebacker. Should they decide not to go after one of the elite prospects in Devin White or Devin Bush, they will have to search for a steal on day two or three. The linebacking corps outside of the Devins is slim, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find a diamond in the rough like they did with Kwon Alexander in 2014.
Staying close to home, Florida Gators linebacker Vosean Joseph shows some potential, but has some work to do.
Vosean Joseph’s Career
Joseph was a three year player at the University of Florida, playing in thirty games. He finished with 161 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed, four sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.
Joseph finished ninth in the SEC in total tackles but never won any individual achievements. All four of his sacks and nine of his tackles for loss came in his Junior year, showing the growth he had in just a short amount of time, thus his ability to enter the draft in an already weak year for linebackers. This will allow him to be drafted a little higher than he should at this point in time.
Joseph is another guy with solid speed and closing ability. He has incredible range, is extremely explosive once he decides where to go, and has above-average athleticism. He’s extremely physical but with a small build that physicality can be quickly negated by bigger and stronger opposition. He has to rely more on his speed than his strength.
He’s a pure wildcard. For every great play, there is a horrendous one. One AFC defensive coach said, “His tape has no middle ground, it’s either really impressive or really ugly. Now go look at his production this year and you realize you can coach some ugly out of his play. He’s a ‘5’ right now but we can turn him into a ‘9.’”
He has trouble reading the blocks ahead of him, causing him to be taken out of plays, he doesn’t react quick enough in coverage to be reliable against a running back or tight end, and he suffers from tunnel vision.
Why The Buccaneers Need Him
Right now, they need breathing humans in that linebacking corps so it’s hard to get too picky. There’s no depth and still the need for at least one more starter - preferably inside. Joseph appears to be trending more towards a weak side linebacker which isn’t exactly what the Buccaneers should be looking for.
Will It Happen?
As of now, I’d lean towards no. Joseph is a high potential project that the Buccaneers simply don’t have time for right now. They need instant impact guys in the first three rounds and Joseph doesn’t appear to be that. Now, if he were to slip to day three - which is unlikely - I’m all in on bringing him to Tampa. For what the Bucs need out of rounds one through three, Joseph is just too high a cost.