The NFL draft is just a few days away. This draft is one of the most important drafts in recent memory for the Buccaneers. With a new and seemingly competent coaching staff, the Bucs need to make the right decisions. This is that time of the year where players rise and fall based on what NFL jersey they wear, who they hang out with and what they eat for lunch. A guy runs a fast 4.3, 40-yard dash time and suddenly he is the next superstar in the making. It’s the time of the year where 40-yard dash times make players rise and fall almost daily, it seems. We all get sucked in to the hype of this guy or that guy—listen, I get it.
While the physical measurables are definitely something to be concerned with, that’s not the only information available in order to evaluate players. Measurables are great, but history has taught us that they don’t always translate. Enter Devin White. It seems like the Buccaneers’ fan favorite is locked in at five—in the mind of fans, at least. Here’s why that thinking needs to change.
With the Buccaneers picking at five in next week’s draft, they are in prime position to land an elite talent. The draft is loaded with talent at positions of need for the Bucs. While linebacker is a need for the new, aggressive defense of Todd Bowles, the value for linebacker at five is just not there. Since 2000, there have been six inside linebackers taken in the top 10.
Here’s the list:
|1: Brian Urlacher|
|2: A.J Hawk|
|3: Aaron Curry|
|4: Jerod Mayo|
|5: Luke Kuechly|
|6: Roquan Smith|
Folks, if after watching Devin White’s tape you come to the conclusion that he is similar to one, five or six, re-watch the tape. He simply isn’t. The NFL is moving towards a new breed of linebacker, and Devin White absolutely fits that mold. The problem is, at five, there will most certainly be better players available than White. Don’t fall in love with measurable. The value for a taking an inside linebacker with the fifth pick just isn’t there.
If the positional value argument wasn’t enough to convince you, what about on the field? White is fast, and it shows on tape. He has the ability to get sideline to sideline, but where he is lacking is his anticipation, especially for a middle linebacker.
In the play above, he gets caught looking into the backfield, and by the time he realizes what’s going on, he’s out of the play.
What’s White’s responsibility here? Gets caught once again looking into the backfield, two steps to the right, and that’s an easy pick.
The ever so quick Jake Fromm eludes pressure from the next Ray Lewis. All jokes aside, White needs to make that play. No excuses.
These are just a few plays that illustrate some of the weaknesses in White’s game. He will be a good football player, but at five, he is too raw for the Bucs to consider.
With Gerald McCoy most likely on his way out the door, the Bucs need help in the trenches. One of General Manager Jason Licht’s biggest mistakes in his tenure in Tampa has been ignoring the defensive line. Licht has drafted a whopping two defensive lineman since taking over. Yes, Vita Vea was a step in the right direction, but with a class loaded with defensive line talent, the Bucs can’t afford to pass on a pass rusher again. With the 5th pick, no matter how you chop it up, one of the big three pass rushers will be available. Nick Bosa, Ed Oliver or Quinnen Williams will fall to the Bucs, and if all three of those are gone, Josh Allen will be sitting there at five. In the modern day NFL, game-changing pass rushers are hard to come by. Just ask Jon Gruden. That being said, if the choice comes down to a pass rusher or an inside linebacker, the answer is ALWAYS pass rusher.
We don’t have to wait much longer to know who will be added to the Bucs’ roster. With the depth of this draft class, trading back is by far the best option. Teams will be desperate for a quarterback and hopefully willing to pay a king’s ransom for the 5th overall pick. If the Bucs trade back and take Devin White, I have no problem with it. All signs point towards White being a talented linebacker in the NFL, but at five, the value is not there for the Bucs. They need to look elsewhere if they keep the 5th overall pick. Make no mistake, Jason Licht is running out of chances.
– Quintin Lash
– Deluded Yinzer