The beginning of Devin White’s rookie season was somewhat rocky, as the former LSU standout had to deal with an illness before picking up a knee injury in Week 2. However, once he got fully healthy and settled in, he took off and started to become the player the Buccaneers expected him to be when they selected him with the No. 5 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
White finished his rookie season with 91 tackles (58 solo), 2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, an interception, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns. He finished the season exceptionally strong, which led to him being named NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month in both November and December. That made him the first Buccaneer to ever win the award in back-to-back months and the first to win it twice in the same season, though Carnell “Cadillac” Williams won Offensive Rookie of the Month in September and December of 2005.
So, it’s not surprising that expectations around Tampa Bay for White’s second NFL season are high. But on Tuesday, we learned that those high expectations for the 22-year-old are also being held on a national level. Peter Schrager of NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” named White as his top breakout player for 2020:
.@PSchrags Top 10 Breakout Players for 2020.— GMFB (@gmfb) September 1, 2020
Yesterday we saw 10 through 6. Today we look at the Top 5
5. @Panthers DE Brian Burns
4. @Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
3. @Eagles RB Miles Sanders
2. @Titans WR AJ Brown
1. @Buccaneers LB Devin White pic.twitter.com/uNf2Yh3Y5g
It’s not all that bold of a pick, considering the way White finished his rookie season. And while he was a top-five selection in last year’s draft after playing in the spotlight at LSU, White may not be viewed with as much acclaim around the NFL world as he is by his fans in Tampa.
With a year of experience in Todd Bowles’ defense, as well as a year of NFL experience in general, the playmaking linebacker should be in for a strong sophomore season. And with all eyes on Tampa Bay this fall due to the addition of Tom Brady, there will be plenty of folks getting a chance to see White potentially blossom into a star.
As for the other nine guys in Schrager’s top 10, the Bucs will see three of them: Los Angeles’ Van Jefferson (No. 6), Carolina’s Brian Burns (No. 5) and Kansas City’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire (No. 4).