During the 2019 off-season, the Bucs made many additions to help the defense at the linebacker position. The reason the Buccaneers made this position a priority is because the only linebackers that were projected to stick in this year’s starting lineup are Lavonte David and Carl Nassib.
The Bucs have maintained a 4-3 defensive scheme for many years and last year had starters Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, and Adarius Taylor playing the majority of the season. Both Alexander (signed with 49ers) and Taylor (signed with Browns) would not be returning to the Bucs this season.
With the new addition of Todd Bowles into the defense, the Bucs will be switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme and have added players that will fit in perfectly and help contribute immediately.
At the middle linebacker position, we know Devin White and Lavonte David will be getting the majority of playing time. Since David is out with a minor injury, newly signed linebacker Deone Bucannon has been playing in his spot throughout training camp and preseason games.
During the regular season Bucannon is still expected to help out with the middle and outside linebacker positions and will fit in perfectly with this defensive scheme.
At the outside linebacker position, the Bucs made an important and under-the-radar signing with Shaquil Barrett. Barrett was receiving limited playing time in Denver due to the depth they had at linebacker. He is a talented edge rusher and will look to have a greater role with the Bucs defense.
During the opening preseason game in Pittsburgh, Noah Spence showed he fits in perfectly with this new scheme. His speed on the outside allowed him to constantly get pressure on the quarterback. Another player that will be playing on the outside is Nassib. He had a great season last year at defensive end in Tampa Bay and will look to continue that this season playing at outside linebacker.
The Bucs have great depth and talent at the linebacker position for this upcoming season and it will be exciting to see how they utilize these players under Todd Bowles’ 3-4 defensive scheme.