Devin White was touted coming out of LSU as being the best linebacker in the draft. His time at college showed off his speed, tackling, and ferocity for the game. Desperately lacking at the position with the departure of Kwon Alexander, Tampa Bay selected White 5th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. To Tampa fans and people inside of the organization, this was considered a solid pick for a team lacking a presence on defense.
Fast forward to the halfway mark on the season, and Devin White has under-impressed so far. He has missed a couple of games this season due to injury or recovery, and only has 21 solo tackles; 35 total to be exact. White currently has a 1/2 a sack and 2 forced fumbles. He has also had a hand in the defense being ranked #+ against the run.
White’s learning curve in the NFL has been harsh. Missing games, missing tackles (see Christian McCaffrey), and not providing that dominate presence that he exuded at LSU. But we all know, that there’s a difference between college and the pros. The NFL can make or break a player, and it seems that White is partially lost in the transition. Trying to make his way through a season where certain teammates are shining (Vita Vea, Mike Evans,
Chris Godwin), while others are being called out for numerous reasons (Vernon Hargreaves, Demar Dotson, Jameis Winston). Current ESPN projections show that Devin White should finish the season with 70 tackles, 42 of them being solo while 28 are projected to be assisted. Not bad but not great either. His best game, was his last game against Seattle. 5 solo tackles, with 7 assisted tackles, and half of a sack.
The matchups and travel get much better the 2nd half of the season, and hopefully the madman out of LSU can niche his own path at the position. One thing is for sure, comparisons will happen regardless if is justified or not. White just has to do with the outside noise with what he does to opposing personnel lined up against him; hold on.
Photo credit: buccaneers.com
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