Bucs head coach Bruce Arians fired back at critics that suggested that Tampa Bay draft an edge rusher like Kentucky’s Josh Allen or Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat instead of LSU inside linebacker Devin White, who was the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and one of the highest-drafted off-the-ball linebackers of all time.

“That value bullshit about linebackers – they don’t know our defense first of all,” Arians said. “We blitz up the middle a ton, and when you watch him come off the edge, he’s special. And we’re going to use that with Lavonte [David] more than we ever have in the past. I think our fans and everybody thinks we’re going to be in a 4-3 defense, which is not what we play. It’s not a guy sitting in the middle running sideline-to-sideline. He’s a very disruptive player and we build everything on disruption. So he yeah, he was the perfect fit of all fits for us.”

White was one of the best blitzing linebackers in college football, recording 8.5 sacks in three years at LSU, including 7.5 over the past two years. According to Pro Football Focus, White had 70 pressures on blitzes.

Aside from his blitzing ability, Arians said the Bucs were enamored with White’s speed to cover running backs like New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey, in addition to playing against mobile quarterbacks.

“He can do other things other than cover backs,” Arians said. “He can cover the great backs man-to-man. With all the spread that’s coming in now, there is no quarterback that is going to outrun him. I don’t worry about Kyler Murray as much now playing him in November, running around if we want him to be the spy because he could run him down and catch him. Those things that are evolving in the league now, you need speed. When you get it in those size and physicality, you’ve got something special.”

Bucs ILB Devin White
Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo courtesy of LSU

Arians indicted that White was the third-highest player on Tampa Bay’s draft board, following Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa. He said he knew that he wanted White six weeks ago and that viewpoint was reinforced during White’s top 30 visit to Tampa Bay when Arians said he would draft the 2018 Butkus Award winner if he were still on the board at No. 5.

Arians consulted former Tigers alumni that he had drafted in Arizona and on Tampa Bay’s roster trying to find something wrong with White, but he couldn’t.

“Our guys – Kendell [Beckwith], Kevin Minter, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann [Mathieu], and we talked to some other guys and I said, ‘Somebody tell me something wrong [about White],” Arians said. “There was never a negative. It always started with, ‘He’s a great kid and what he does in their community.’ Mike Caldwell, I think it’s his [niece’s] basketball coach, raved about him coming to their game and playing in the community with the kids. The tape speaks for itself. You knew you were going to get a great player. In my opinion, he’s one of the top three guys in this draft.”

Arians noted that White’s film speaks for itself in terms of his playing style and production, but raved about his leadership ability.

“He was younger than the guys at LSU when he was a sophomore captain,” Arians said. “Look, some guys have it. Other guys say, ‘Let me do my job and follow me.’ Alright, he’s going to do that, but he’s going to say, ‘Hey, man,’ and he’s going to hold some guys accountable, and that we need.

“When I looked at the board, and there were some really quality players, but for what we needed, and what his attributes are, he was a perfect fit. That doesn’t happen to you very often. And I mentioned to [the media] earlier that you don’t draft for need. But when need and the player match, man, you’ve got a home run. This is one of those home runs. This was a grand slam.”

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]


  1. We’ll see. 11 years of losing and we can’t just blindly believe. Prove it on the field.

    Rating: +20. From 20 votes.
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  2. Exactly what Arians said. He knows what he is doing (Look at his record and how players/coaches alike all respect him). He knows what he wants (install a leader/voice/accountability for the defense). He knows how to utilize the player’s skill set rather than try to change the player into what they want to run for schemes (Great coaches create systems around the strengths at hand rather than try to change the players to fit their scheme). He doesn’t bend or go to what the media says or the current trend (sticks to his gut and get’s shit done).

    Sit back and have some faith. Realize we all are tired of losing and having missed opportunities. Also take into consideration that the Buccaneers have not had a staff or any sort of winning culture for IMO since Dungy.

    Somehow and someway we should get Dungy on board to become a part of the organization to solidify the winning culture that will continue to live up to it’s true potential for decades.

    Respect to Bucco Bruce Arians and Bowels, Licht, and the Glazers for finally investing in the most important piece which is a winning staff.

    Rating: +11. From 25 votes.
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  3. Sounds good I like the way Arians thinks.

    Rating: +7. From 11 votes.
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  4. Sounds butt hurt to me. I tend to go with what history has shown us recently regarding middle linebackers, and that is they don’t have the value of a pass rusher or DT. Don’t take my word for it, look at the top linebackers and what they are paid and what their trade value is once its tine to deal them.
    They also dont impact the game as in the past. All the rule changes which make it difficult to tackle a player without a penalty or worse getting suspended for an illegal hit. The game is offense driven so that really leaves one way to beat a good quarterback and that’s by putting him on his arse.
    Another epic failure for this franchise!

    Rating: -22. From 36 votes.
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  5. Yeah lets look at Arians history in the draft, its actually worse than Licht. During his tenure as HC in Arizona his top picks are either busts or less than average players. He might be a good coach but he sucks at picking players just like Gruden.

    Rating: -9. From 23 votes.
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  6. Buc76 Apr. 26, 2019 at 4:50 pm
    We’ll see. 11 years of losing and we can’t just blindly believe. Prove it on the field.

    Arians has proven it, at both Indy and Arizona.

    Rating: +9. From 19 votes.
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  7. It really tickles me that all of these people know so much more than the professionals. The whole staff at NFL radio said we took the best player available, including a retired GM with a Gold Jacket. But John Q public that sells carpet or cars for a living knows so much more than all of those people. All I know is the last LB we took with a number 1 pick turned out to be well worth the pick. Hopefully this will turn out just half as good. I know double nickel will support him.

    Rating: +16. From 26 votes.
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  8. Spit on Bob Will 👍

    Rating: -6. From 10 votes.
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  9. That would be spot on sorry

    Rating: +4. From 6 votes.
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  10. Sounds like a coach that already knows he made the wrong pick.

    Rating: -6. From 18 votes.
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  11. Love that he’s sticking up for his pick. Love that he believes so strongly in White and his talent.
    Don’t love the “I think our fans” quote. Not every criticism is due to being a hater or having a lack of knowledge. It’s annoying and condescending for any dissenting point of view to be treated as willful negativity or lack of knowledge

    Rating: +3. From 9 votes.
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  12. Love this pick, he brings some great qualities to the table. Loved what he said about the #40 retired for a reason, he’ll take another number, the kid gets it.

    Rating: +3. From 5 votes.
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  13. This clown show continues White is going to be a starter middle linebacker that’s it.
    Sounds like to me a lot of experts are shaking their head wondering what the Bucs were thinking. I personally think the NFL head office is not letting future stars come to the Bucs so that they can sit at the bottom of the league. This is about the third or fourth move Bruce Arians made that makes me shake my head wondering what the f— he’s thinking now people are starting to figure out maybe why Arizona encouraged him to retire.

    Rating: -8. From 12 votes.
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  14. It is a new era in Tampa Bay. I am excited! Welcome to the Bucs D. White!

    Rating: +4. From 6 votes.
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  15. I like the White pick although I think we won’t turn the corner until we get better on the OL. The Bunting pick was an absolute joke however. Licht sucks. Look at his second round choices…bust city.

    Seferian Jenkins–the only good thing here is that he’s off the team.
    Marpet–Probably the best pick on this list.
    D. Smith–Overrated penalty machine.
    Spence–Another “specimen” that can’t play.
    Aguayo–We traded up for this mind you.
    Evans–If can stay on the field this “specimen” could be good.
    Ronald Jones–Has a second round pick ever done less?
    C. Davis–Jury is out but I don’t see anything special here.
    M. Stewart–Looks to be the second best on this list.

    Licht is a second rate GM as you can see by his second round choices.

    Rating: -5. From 11 votes.
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  16. Predictable comments. I was impressed with Josh Allen’s 17 sacks as basically a one year wonder. But for me, it’s the swagger and maturity that Devin White brings that is more impressive.

    Rating: +5. From 7 votes.
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