The Buccaneers’ dynamic duo is back intact. Lavonte David is returning for another season and Devin White is still with the team - for now. While the Bucs, regardless of White and David being the locked and loaded starters, certainly need depth at inside linebacker it may also be time to start looking to the future.
David, 33, is back for just one season while White is on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal and will be looking for a mega payday in the off-season - whether that’s with Tampa or elsewhere. Remember, this is the guy that said at the NFL Scouting Combine that he wanted to be a $100-million dollar linebacker. With as complex as Todd Bowles’ defense is and as much as he relies on the athleticism and versatility of his inside linebackers, starting the process a year early is probably a good idea.
So where would the Bucs look for a such a player? Probably not with one of the first two picks - not impossible, but not likely - but perhaps starting around the third round is when Jason Licht and Bowles start to look for a guy that they can bring along to become a starter in the near future.
Noah Sewell’s Collegiate Career
Noah, the younger brother of recent first round pick Penei Sewell, was Utah’s Mr. Football in his senior year of high school. He joined his brother as a member of the University of Oregon as a five-star prospect. He quickly made an impact, being named the Pac-12’s Freshman Defensive Player of the Year after leading the team with 48 tackles.
The 6’1”, 245lb linebacker was first team All-Pac 12 as a sophomore and second team All-Pac 12 as a junior, racking up 218 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 9 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in his 33 collegiate games.
Sewell did not participate in the 28-27 Ducks victory over North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl as he opted to focus on draft preparation instead.
Pro Day and NFL Scouting Combine
Sewell’s athletic score doesn’t exactly jump off the page with a 75. At the Combine, Sewell ran a 4.64 40, had a 33” vertical jump, a 9’7” broad jump, and hit 27 reps on the bench press. Some feel following his performance he may be better suited transitioning to an EDGE guy rather than staying at linebacker, though in the Buccaneers’ scheme he’s probably better off at inside linebacker.
Noah Sewell is a LB prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 8.32 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 421 out of 2503 LB from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/VClo3EHVIa #RAS pic.twitter.com/gw8CSOP9gc— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 26, 2023
Sewell participated in some of the on field drills at the Oregon pro day, but did not run the 40 again.
What Can Sewell Do For The Buccaneers In 2023?
The key as a rookie for Sewell should he be drafted by the Bucs is to be reliable support if called upon, participate on special teams, and be a sponge. The starters are locked and loaded, but over the last three years David and White have missed a combined eight games. On the depth chart now, the reinforcements should one of them go down are K.J. Britt, J.J. Russell, and Ulysees Gilbert. Adding Sewell to the mix gives the Bucs a playmaker and potential starter in the future.
However, the pressure wouldn’t be on for him to replace David or White immediately so he can learn the defense from them and soak up every ounce of knowledge from them as possible. David has been one of the best and most consistent linebackers in the NFL since entering the league in 2012 and could help Sewell along. White, while frustrating at times, can be one of the most electric linebackers in the league and someone Sewell can feed off of if - or when - his time comes.
Bringing a player of Sewell’s potential along over the course of a full off-season and full season could create a big leap in growth for the 20-year old by time he’s asked to take over a starting role. Until then, learn and help when called upon - especially on special teams.
Right now, Sewell is projected as a third round pick. Most often, he’s being mocked to the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, and Los Angeles Chargers and has an NFL comp to Dont’a Hightower.
According to Mock Draft Database, he’s the 86th overall prospect and sixth ranked inside linebacker while being drafted 62nd overall to the Eagles. That puts him well out of Tampa Bay’s reach unless they pull the trigger at 50, but that’s a little too rich for the Bucs who will likely be looking for a plug-and-play starter at that spot to fill one of the many needs on the roster.
While Sewell might be a solid fit for Bowles and the defense, the Bucs don’t need to give up capital to take him in the second or move up from 82 in order to draft him. We’ll see how things continue to shake out leading up to the draft and whether or not his post 2022 NCAA season slide continues to give the Bucs a chance in the third round.
On The Clock...
Let’s hear it Bucs fans. What do you think of Noah Sewell as a potential fit in Tampa Bay? Vote in the poll below and discuss in the comment section!
The Buccaneers Should Target Noah Sewell In The NFL Draft...
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As Projected (Late 2nd/Early 3rd)
Early (Pick 50)
Late (3rd Round Slide/4th Round)
Never. He Shouldn’t Be On Their Board