Tiger Mentality in Tampa

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Louisiana State University has become synonymous with producing the strongest linebackers in the college game. They’ve produced so many linebackers that they have coined the nickname “Linebacker University.” If an NFL team was looking for a strong linebacker look no further than LSU.

The Buccaneers hit gold when they drafted Kwon Alexander in 2015. They picked the LSU linebacker with the 124th pick in the 4th round. Alexander is entering his 4th season with the Buccaneers and has produced 237 combined tackles and has 6 sacks. Kwon has also made the Pro Bowl during his time in Tampa Bay. Alexander isn’t the only LSU Tiger making headlines for the Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers are hoping to hit it big again when they drafted Kendell Beckwith in 2017 with the 107th pick in the 3rd round. Where did Beckwith play his college ball at? That’s right LSU. The former Tiger dominated the college scene and competed in the NFL combine with an injury. The injury may have been a blessing in disguise because teams passed on him and he fell to the 3rd round and the Buccaneers snatched him up.

In his rookie campaign, Beckwith recorded 73 combined tackles, forced one fumble, and had one sack. The 6’2 245 pound linebacker will look to solidify a starting spot in year two for the Buccaneers. Beckwith has been able to play more than initially expect due to injuries to David and Alexander. During the combine the scouting report showed that he didn’t have the speed to cover running backs and tight ends in the open field. Beckwith has proven people wrong in his first year. The Buccaneers should give Beckwith a starting role in the upcoming season. He could be a game changer on the outside. He is the perfect mixture for a linebacker (speed, size, and toughness). He has put up better numbers in his first season than Devante Bond has put up since being drafted.

What will the Buccaneers do with their linebacking crew?  The Buccaneers have a three-headed monster in Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, and Kendell Beckwith. All three could be Pro Bowlers in the future. Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith has the makings of an elite defense at his fingertips, so the only question is how he will use them? Depth is always a good thing to have and if the young guys continue to progress the Buccaneers could have the best linebackers in not only the NFC South, but the NFL.

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