Buccaneers fans are waking up this morning with the same empty and confused feeling they had at the moment Tampa Bay selected Devin White at #5 in the first round of last night’s NFL draft. There was absolutely no surprise as the team selected the monster from LSU that every mock draft has had the team selecting all along.
White was not slotted to go in the top five because he fills a need for the Buccaneers. Although he does just that. There was no collusion between Louisiana State University and the Buccaneers, selecting an LSU linebacker to replace the LSU linebacker who just went to San Francisco this offseason. Devin White brings the boom, covers the field from sideline to sideline, and plays with an intensity that has been compared to that of a young Ray Lewis. So why do Buccaneers fans feel like they showed up for a feast but got finger sandwiches?
Blame Todd Bowles
Passing on Josh Allen, who most did not see still on the board at #5, Tampa Bay made an announcement to the world that the team will be featuring a 3/4 defensive scheme. This is where the excitement for the White selection starts to become a realization. With White’s instincts to find the ball, huge boom in attacking holes, and good closing speed and backside pursuit, the day that the Buccaneer defense requires such a monster in the middle has arrived.
Strong Leadership Skills
A legend in high school in the deeply talented state of Louisiana, White started to show brilliance immediately upon his arrival at LSU. He played as a true freshman in all twelve games for the Tigers, earning a spot on the SEC’s all-freshman team. But the next two years were where the legend was born. He led the Tigers with 133 tackles, 14 for loss as a sophomore, earning First Team All SEC honors and Second Team All-American. This past season Devin led the team in tackles again, earning All SEC honors, First Team All-American, and winning the Butkus award as the best linebacker in college football. After being named SEC Player of the week four weeks in a row, a feat that had never been accomplished before, White said he would continue to listen to his coaches to strive to get better. That’s the kind of 21 year-old, self-motivated player coaches covet so highly.
It’s a New Day in Tampa Bay
Admit it. Tampa Bay football, especially on the defensive side, has recently meant four down lineman and three linebackers. Linebackers have always blitzed, but it was complementary to the defensive line pressure, and speed was most important. Now the Buccaneers’ defense will depend on three down lineman to tie up the offensive line. DC Bowles will use exotic schemes to use the linebackers like blitzing bishops in a violent game of chess. A player with Devin White’s makeup will become a valuable asset to and important leader of a pillaging pirate defense that will ruin the day of many an NFC South opponent.
So take a moment to fill your plate. Those hunger pains are about to disappear. Dinner is served. It’s going to take Tampa Bay fans a minute to eat and then digest just how good this meal is. But rest assured, the only indigestion will be in opposing team offenses the Buccaneers will be facing.