Bucs’ Best Draft Fits By Position: EDGE/ILB

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Its Draft day and our Bucs draft fits at EDGE and inside linebacker are here. The depth behind the starters at both of these positions is questionable and I fully expect the team to invest resources into shoring up the back up spots with an eye towards the future.

Let’s dive into the Bucs’ draft fits for EDGE and inside linebacker in this class.

1. EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington Huskies
Projected Selection: Rounds 1-2

Tryon is one of the most explosive pass rushers in the draft. Quick of the snap, he uses his size and length to get good leverage on his opponents and win at the point of attack. He’s Fluid enough to drop back in coverage when asked and is sound against the run. He has all the tools an traits to develop into a dangerous pass rusher at the next level with the right coaching.

Tryon does need to work on developing a wider array of pass rush moves and is stiff when bending the edge but his high motor keeps him in plays. Another potential knock is that Tryon opted out of the 2020 season and only has one year of production in his only year as a starter.

Still a work in progress, learning under JPP, Shaq Barrett and this coaching staff could do wonders for his development while he contributes in a rotational role immediately.

Out of all the prospects likely to be available when the Bucs pick at 32, Tryon is easily one of the best draft fits at EDGE.

2. EDGE Payton Turner, Houston Cougars
Projected Selection: Rounds 2-3

Todd Bowles loves his edge rushers to be versatile, and Turner brings just that to his game. Lining up inside, outside, hand in the dirt, stand up rusher, Turner has done it all. Still a bit raw, he has tremendous room for growth. Turner checks off all the boxes though with size -6’5”-, length -35”-, strength – 23 bench press reps-, and athleticism – 4.33 in the 20-yard shuttle, .19 seconds slower than WR Marquez Stevenson. Turner has a great first step off the line combining with powerful hand-combatting moves and a strong initial first punch. He uses a wide array of pass-rush moves to knock his defenders off balance, using excellent pad level to win with leverage. He lacks the explosive speed to chase down runners but does the dirty work when setting the edge against the run.

Turner could see the field as a rookie in obvious passing downs and as a rotational player while learning from two of the best in the NFL in Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. He’s has also had multiple meetings with members of the coaching staff.

3. EDGE Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt Commodores
Projected Selection: Rounds 3-4

Dayo Odeyingbo has the ability to line up virtually anywhere on the defensive line and as a stand-up OLB in a 3-4 system. His athleticism and length are something that jumps off the page with 38” arms and exceptional body control and agility.

He finished the 2020 season racking up 32 tackles, eight TFLs, and 5.5 sacks. Those numbers earned him second team All-SEC honors. Odeyingbo reminds me a lot of Jason Pierre-Paul coming out of college. He’s a raw player that sometimes plays a little too tall with his size but offers tremendous scheme versatility. He would probably go much higher, but he tore his achilles in January. The Buccaneers don’t have an immediate need for help on the outside, so it will give him plenty of time to heal and learn from Pierre-Paul.

Rich results on Google's SERP for 'bucs draft fits edge linebacker'
Dayo Odeyingbo is an under-the-radar prospect for the Bucs.

4. EDGE Cameron Sample, Tulane Green Wave
Projected Selection: Rounds 4-5

Already a stout run defender, Sample shows great athleticism and power. He also has an array of pass rush moves to go with those traits.

In his final season at Tulane Sample turned in 52 tackles, 7.5 TFL, and 5.0 sacks. At the Senior Bowl, Sample consistently dominated in one-on-one drills. He ended up winning defensive MVP, despite going up against some of the draft’s best offensive tackles. Sample can be a rotational piece that can help in sub-packages and offers protection against injury. With the versatility to play on the line and as a stand up linebacker if fits what coach Bowles looks for in a defensive player. He’s also another guy that the Buccaneers have spoken with on multiple occasions.

5. EDGE Janarius Robinson, Florida State Seminoles
Projected Selection: Rounds 5-6

Janarius Robinson has the size and strength to excel as a either edge or hybrid 5-tech in the NFL. Robinson is a great run defender. He has a powerful push off the snap that allows him to dominate at the point of attack. He wasn’t as productive a player in college tallying only 8.0 sacks in his four year stint but is the kind of “do the dirty things” player that would thrive in this system.

The former Seminole has all the traits and the body type teams look for in the position He need to work on his bend more while rushing the passer as well as developing more pass rush moves. But he is the type of player that screams better pro than collegiate athlete.

6. LB Derrick Barnes, Purdue Boilermakers
Projected Selection: Rounds 3-4

Bowles’ defense thrives on versatile players and Derrick Barnes is just that. An off-ball linebacker who also has the flexibility to put his hand in the dirt in coverage, Barnes is one of the surest tacklers in the draft. He has good vision and play recognition and the speed and athleticism to make plays sideline-to-sideline. A physical player, Barnes packs a wallop to climbing blockers and ball carriers. While he is decent in zone coverage, he doesn’t have the most fluid of hips and can get turned around by tight ends and running backs in coverage.

Lavonte David and Devin White are locked up for the next two years. Kevin Minter, however, is on a one-year deal in 2021. Developing Barnes behind David, while still being able to employ his versatile skill set, could intrigue the Bucs and Bowles enough to take him in the third or fourth round.

7. LB Isaiah McDuffie, Boston College Eagles
Projected Selection: Rounds 6-7

McDuffie is a sideline-to-sideline, high volume tackler. He uses his athleticism to stay with running backs in coverage and has enough strength to shed blocks. However, he often plays too fast and can overreact, so he is often out of position. He can also get taken out of plays by climbing blockers and has a difficult time turning his head around in coverage, which can lead to incidental contact downfield. He can also be a bit undisciplined after the whistle.

All said, McDuffie projects a solid back up at the next level who will really make his mark on special teams, where he was a steady force with the Eagles. McDuffie should make the roster out of camp and slide right into that fourth linebacker spot.

Honorable Mentions:

– Edge Jaelen Philips, Miami Hurricanes
Projected Selection: Round 1

– Edge Quincy Roche, Miami Hurricanes
Projected Selection: Rounds 3-4

– Edge Elerson Smith, Northern Iowa
Projected Selection: Rounds 4-5

– Edge Jonathon Cooper, Ohio State Buckeyes
Projected Selection: Rounds 6-7

– LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky Wildcats
Projected Selection: Rounds 1 -2

– LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Projected Selection: Rounds 1 -2

– LB Chazz Surratt, North Carolina Tar Heels
Projected Selection: Rounds 3-4

– LB Buddy Johnson, Texas A&M Aggies
Projected Selection: Rounds 5-6


Let us know who your Bucs’ draft fits are at EDGE and linebacker in the comment section below!

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