Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has confirmed that rookie linebacker Devin White will start Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
The 5th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft suffered a sprained knee in the week 2 matchup against the Panthers. White was available for last weeks game against the New Orleans Saints but did not play.
The Buccaneers are obviously thrilled to get White back in the starting lineup. That’s not to say his replacement didnt do a fine job in his absence. Kevin Minter stepped in for White during his absence and posted 29 tackles and 2 tackles for loss.
Linebacker Lavonte David had this to say about Minter filling in for White.
“Obviously, Devin was playing in front of him, but you need guys that not only know what they’re doing, but also when somebody goes down you need to step up and fill that void. For us, Mint has played in that defense before so he knows it and what to expect. He can step in and make plays. That’s his job. That’s what he’s supposed to do and he’s doing that job at a high level.”
White was off to a somewhat slow start by some standards posting 8 tackles in his first game and a half. To be fair, White has basically only played one game, where he posted 6 tackles. In that context he hasn’t done that bad. The issue is, right or wrong, that people expect more from a 5th overall pick.
Chalk it up to learning a new system, adjusting to the speed and level of play in this league. Those are all understandable reasons, but to some are just excuses.
Personally I think White has all the potential to be one of the best inside linebackers in the league. Sunday morning we all get to see him back in action. Let’s just hope this is the restart or reboot of his rookie season, a breakout season, a coming out party if you will.
Sources: buccaneers.com, pewterreport.com, pro-football-reference
Photo credit: Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire