At just before 9pm eastern time, Roger Goodell brought Make-a-Wish participant Kacey Reynolds to the podium. It was Kacey’s wish to announce his Tampa Bay Buccaneers first round pick for the 2019 NFL Draft. Needless to say, not a single person was shocked to hear the name Devin White be called and the LSU Tiger is on his way to Tampa Bay.
When we start getting closer to the draft certain picks get a little clearer as the “obvious” choice. This pick was probably know for the past two months. If not longer. There were plenty of those who thought Ed Oliver, Defensive Tackle from Houston, or Josh Allen the Edge Rusher from Kentucky may be the pick. Including the notion that neither of those two names would even be available. When the Bucs were on the clock, all three names were available. Without knowing what calls they may have received in their war room, the Bucs had a very good problem to have at #5. Any guy is going to be a great addition to the Buccaneers defense.
Before he was a Buccaneer
If you look at White’s numbers from his first two seasons, you wouldn’t see off the chart statistics. He increased his tackling total to 133 but most were assisted tackles. Come to his Junior season, White doubled his solo tackle total to 62, with 123 total tackles and 2 recoveries from 3 force fumbles. Looking at them again, they aren’t world-beating numbers, but this defense did fine with a just okay tackling Linebacker in Kwon Alexander. What they desperately needed in this new Todd Bowles defense is a guy who can rush just as well. This is where Devin White excels.
From Pro-Football focus last year, Devin White was the 15th ranked player in rush efficiency. In all of College football. As a Middle Linebacker. Let that sink in.
Welcome to Tampa, Rookie
It looks like the fans weren’t alone in knowing Devin White was going to be the pick. White had hinted or nudged his way in to the conversation when he mentioned that he would hit the ground running in Todd Bowles defense.
“I’d be way better in Todd Bowles’ system than a lot of systems because I already know the system. I’m very capable of going into any building and re-learning a system, but my speed would be at 100 instead of 90.” – Devin White
Let’s fast forward to week one and assume that White is locked for Week one play, he’s join an already impressive Linebacker core. Sharing the Mike spot with newly acquired Free Agent, Deone Buchanon with Shaq Barrett and fan favorite, Lavonte David on the edges. That puts the Bucs in the conversation for the top core of Linebackers in my (bias) opinion.
I’m going to give a healthy rookie season prediction for White. In the NFC South, the Buccaneers will need a lot of help defending against Brees, Ryan and Newton at the opposing helms. Let’s give Devin White a healthy 12 pass defended, 3 INT’s and 5.5 sacks. All behind a 107 tackle season. Hardly rookie of the year material, but we only want to see is proficiency. Then improvement from there. These stats leave plenty of room to grow even though the numbers are studly.