Bucs get their man in linebacker Devin White

By Ken Filler
Apr. 27, 2019

The Bucs got the guy they wanted all along in the NFL draft as Devin White the linebacker from LSU become the newest Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

With Josh Allen, Ed White and Devin White all sitting their ripe for the picking at number five, the Bucs would have a difficult decision to make. Or so you would think. 

It’s not every year that kind of talent is setting there at number five.

Would they take the edge rusher Allen from Kentucky? Would they opt to go for defensive line help in Ed Oliver? Vita Vea and Ed Oliver could hold that tackle position down for years to come. 

Or would they go for the best linebacker in this years draft and fill the shoes left vacant by Kwon Alexander when he signed with San Francisco? 

In reality it was not much of difficult choice at all. When Devin White come through Tampa on his pre-draft visit and he met with Arians and Licht, Arians told him he was going to be a Buccaneer. 

In his press conference speaking to the media after the selection of White, Licht indicated that White had been at their top of the board all along. “We went through a lot of exercises, We talked about these guys over and over. We watched every play they ever played in college. And we felt very comfortable that we made the right decision. Devin's a linebacker but he's also an attacking player. He's a pressure type linebacker. He can get to the quarterback as well."

The fact that White is just as good in coverage as he he is rushing the passer was huge with Arians and Todd Bowles who like as much flexibility with their defensive players as possible. 

“Position flexibility is huge for us," said Arians of the many ways White can be deployed. "Obviously, he's a three-down player. He can walk out on the edge and do some things. Then the other thing is, he can cover backs. He can cover the great backs. With all the spread that's coming in now, there's no quarterback that's going to out-run him. I don't worry about Kyler Murray as much now, playing him in November, running around. You want [White] to be the spy, because he can run him down and catch him. Those things that are evolving in the league now, you need speed. You get it in that size and physicality, you've got something really special."

In his opening press conference in late January, Arians stressed the need for speed to cover the wide receivers in the NFC South and White fits the bill as he ran a 4.42 at the combine. 

With Alexander moving on to San Francisco, White will step in and start right way at inside linebacker next to Lavonte David. White at 6-1 and 238 is bigger than Alexander and is faster than Alexander. 

If the season were to start today White and David would play inside with Shaq Barrett and Deonne Bucannon on the outside. 

The Bucs will also have Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib, and Noah Spence as edge rushers as well. 

White is excited to be in Tampa, and has all the confidence in the world, "I played in the SEC against guys like Damien Harris, Trayveon Williams...many other guys that are stars in the league now. "It's just an easy transition. I'm very confident in my abilities. I know they're going to make plays and I'm going to make plays, so I can't just say I'm going to come in and shut them down. But I know I'm going to do a great job of handling my business, because when I'm on that line, I'm giving you everything I got. And I think what I've got to give is very decent. It's going to get better. If they see me lock people down in college, just know that I'm going to be on a whole different level in the NFL because I'm going to get some great coaching."

It’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another thing to back it up on Sunday. White talked a lot and was able to back it up at LSU. Can’t wait to see White bring it on Sunday afternoons at Raymond James. 

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports