The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have found a new face for their new defense – in addition to filling a need at inside linebacker – with the selection of LSU’s Devin White with the team’s first-round pick.

The Bucs did not trade down to acquire more picks, selecting White with the fifth overall pick. White’s selection should come as no surprise to PewterReport.com readers, as they have seen him be Tampa Bay’s first-round pick four out of five times in the 2019 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft dating all the way back to the first edition on January 18, and PewterReport.com’s FINAL 2019 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft on Saturday.

Adding team speed to the defense was an important goal this offseason for the Bucs and Tampa Bay gets the fastest linebacker in the draft in White, who was an All-American this season at LSU, in addition to winning the Butkus Award. White, who just turned 21 in January, was the leader of the Tigers defense over the last two seasons in which he was a first-team All-SEC linebacker.

LSU LB Devin White
LSU LB Devin White – Photo from LSU

After being a second-team All-American in 2017 for recording 133 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, three pass breakups and one interception, White terrorized the SEC last year, leading the conference in tackles with 123 stops, 12 tackles for loss, six pass breakups, three sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

White’s LSU Career Defensive Stats

2016: 30 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 FR

2017: 133 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 3 PBUs, 1 INT

2018: 123 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 6 PBUs, 3 sacks, 3 FFs, 2 FRs

One of the fastest and most explosive linebackers in college football, White has drawn comparisons to Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis, and has rare sideline-to-sideline speed. His 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine was the fastest among all linebackers this year. When he hits, White brings the full force of his well-built 240-pound frame, and is also a dangerous blitzer.

“I’ve been a part of Ray Lewis,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron told Rivals.com. “I’ve been a part of Patrick Willis, and he’s right there. He’s one of the best I’ve ever been a part of as far as middle linebackers go. He’s very talented, and I think he’s still getting better.”

White is a perfect fit for Bowles’ attack-style defense and can play on all three downs due to his speed and ability to blitz and drop in coverage. While he has to work on shedding blocks better at the next level, White has honed his instincts over the last two years and has a nose for the football. He also brings confidence and leadership ability to Tampa Bay’s defense.

“First and foremost I tell them, the tape don’t lie,” White said at his pro day. “It’ll speak for itself. The type of player I’ve been for LSU the last three years, even when I wasn’t in the spotlight and I wasn’t playing I was a guy who was always cheering on the other teammate. I was a guy who played special teams and just came to work everyday with a relentless attitude, whether it was in the weight room or the film room or the classroom. I was a guy who never missed a class at LSU. I was here three and a half years and I’m proud of that. I was a guy who had over a 3.0 every semester. I’ve got four classes and then I graduate. My work speaks for itself.”

LSU has a rich tradition for pumping out NFL-caliber linebackers with Tampa Bay having had three of them in Kwon Alexander, Kendell Beckwith and Kevin Minter. Other LSU linebackers in the NFL include Atlanta’s Deion Jones and Duke Riley, both of whom played with White, in addition to Seattle’s Barkevious Mingo, Detroit’s Kelvin Sheppard and Buffalo’s Corey Thompson.

LSU ILB Devin White
LSU ILB Devin White – Photo by: LSU athletics

To say that White is an alpha male would be an understatement. He’s the type of leader than can change a culture, and that’s what is needed at One Buccaneer Place. White, who is an effective blitzer from inside or from the edge, has the ability to play all of the linebacker spots.

At first glance, linebacker doesn’t seem like a position of need with Lavonte David leading the way as a team captain, in addition to Kevin Minter, who was re-signed and Deone Bucannon, who was added on a one-year deal to play the Moneybacker role in nickel defense. But David turns 29 this year, and Tampa Bay’s defense could use a tremendous leader to replace Alexander, one with speed and play-making ability to take over the Bucs defense for the long haul.

Keep in mind that Beckwith, a player capable of playing MIKE or SAM linebacker in Tampa Bay missed all of the 2018 campaign after recovering from a broken ankle last offseason. Beckwith, the team’s third-round pick in 2017, had setbacks with his ankle upon returning to practice in October after missing training camp and the preseason, and his status for 2019 remains in doubt.

The same could be said for Jack Cichy, last year’s sixth-round pick who tore his ACL in the Cleveland game shortly after Alexander tore his. With the availability of Beckwith and Cichy in question heading into 2019, in addition to Minter and Bucannon only being signed for one year, this underlies the need for another playmaking linebacker that could play and make an impact in Bowles’ defense, which will feature a 3-4 Under scheme.

That position in Tampa Bay has been filled by White in the first round.

Watch White’s LSU highlight video below.

This year’s PewterReport.com’s Bucs draft coverage is presented by Edmonson Electric & Security – the official smart home and security company of PewterReport.com.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

24 COMMENTS

  1. White is the biggest boom or bust player in this draft outside of the QB’s. His leadership and athleticism is all there. But excited and uncertain.

    Go Bucs!

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  2. Not sure how to feel about this yet. Especially with Allen STILL on the board. I feel like I should be more excited, I’m just not yet

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  3. We are going to regret not getting Josh Allen. We could have traded back and still got D. White. Don’t get me wrong, I played LB and think he is a great player. But I really think JA is a top level pass rusher.

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  4. I was hoping for Allen to be honest.

    But I guess White will grow on me once he takes the field.

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  5. I was so happy the raiders passed Josh Allen thinking that was our pick, kind of shocked, but I’m ok with white. I think Arians got the man he wants leading the defense and they will correct his high tackling issues..wonder why Allen is falling? Welcome to the Bay Area White!

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  6. I get why people wanted an EDGE guy. But, LB is essential in our new defense. Also, who else do we have at LB besides Levonte?

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  7. Really surprised at this pick. I hope it works out for my Bucs but with J Allen and Oliver on the board makes me wonder who made it BA or Licht. Hope it works out. Go Bucs!

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  8. I’ve read/listened to a ton of people the last few months and it seems like Allen is a little overhyped as pass rush prospect. I guess we’ll see. But Devin White seems to be as safe as a draft prospect can be, and is ready to play now. Inside LB is the biggest need on the team imo, and the Bucs filled that need with a safe, very talented, ready to play guy. Seems to me that this was a home run pick.

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  9. Arians has said he wants to improve the speed on defense. White is just one piece of the puzzle and plenty of draft to go to keep adding to defense.

    Still need edge rusher, DT, and a DB.

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  10. Not all that excited about White, but after all I’m just a fan and the coaches know what they’re doing. Go Bucs!

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  11. He is a natural leader which I believe played a huge roll in the selection.

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  12. This spineless defense just got some backbone. Welcome aboard Devin White.

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  13. @surferdudes

    This would not surprise me if this is a common theme with more defensive player drafted by the Bucs.

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  14. You do realize Allen would have played olb for us right. He would have been a line backer.

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    Rating: -4. From 12 votes.
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  15. Que the haters and detractors in 3…2…1

    Truth be told, everyone loved Kwon and White > Kwon. Everyone wanted an edge rusher but who do we have in the middle of our d? We have JPP, Nassib, and hopefully an improved Spence off the edge and all we have in the middle is LVD.

    In my humble opinion, ILB was our biggest hole on defense and now we have a new face and leader of the defense for years to come. Looking forward to he rest of the draft

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  16. We just drafted a mlb 5th overall to replace a guy we couldn’t pay becasue Jason messed up our salary cap so bad and you dams are happy. He is what if I was Vegas he would win us one more quarter per year. This is why we are bottom dwellers becasue Jason there’s no Licht keeps having to make up for his draft and free agency mistakes. We had a guy on our team that is right now better than our first round pick 5th overall. But we had to let him go because Jason signed beau Allen and max unrein to more than kwon is making this year to not even know if they ever played for us last year. It’s like whatever Licht does you know it’s wrong. Allen or Oliver will be the defensive player of the year. Yet we draft a middle fucking linebacker 5th overall. I really wish I could just change teams but I can’t it’s a buc life seige the day

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  17. I’m just waiting for BucAssBob to chime in and tell us this team is doomed the go 1-15 because of the DWhite pick.

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  18. WNB0395
    Yes we realize Allen would be classified a linebacker. But they are not an actual linebacker. But yeah since he will be labeled a linebacker we got the Better linebacker huh. We had a good to great linebacker that didn’t cost us the 5th overall pick. But we had to let him go becasue Jason Licht messed the salary cap up so bad we had to let him go and waste a 5th overall pick to redraft his replacement. Jason Licht suck and ruined our team. And I watched the redskins give up a 3rd round pick to move up and get sweat. But we didn’t offer that. Because lychdt was bust jumping in his heated pool to celebrate while fans are fighting to pay for there tickets.

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  19. Firstly, I’m not sure who came up with these rules about not drafting certain positions early in the Draft. It’s true that inside linebackers, safeties, guards, centers and yes, kickers are rarely taken early, but in my view that “rule of thumb” shouldn’t stand in the way of taking the player any team believes is the best fit.

    Here, we are choosing fifth. Apparently there was no team willing to trade up for the right compensation. The “other” inside linebacker was taken at the 10 spot. Seems to me we would have had no chance on D.White if we traded down.

    I liked Josh Allen and his 17 sacks myself and might have pulled the trigger on him. My only issue was that any defensive lineman, DT or Edge as they are called now, would have been the fourth player at that position. Instead we got the top linebacker. Who’s to say which will have the better NFL career. I know this much, I like Devin White’s swagger and fire. That, my friends is what I believe is our biggest need.

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  20. Terrible pick!! Josh Allen fell into your lap and Licht over reaches for and ILB who can’t get to the QB(8.5 career sacks), is a bad tackler and often gets sucked up at the line of scrimmage in play action.

    He locks into one player and sticks with that player no matter how the draft pans out. You have Brees, Ryan and Newton in your division and you pass on the 2nd best pass rusher in this draft?? Insane!

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  21. 0-16 and that was set before draft White ok Allen will be star Jason always misses the bullseye.

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    • I hope Jason Drafts an English teacher. He can then teach BUC-ASS-BOB punctuation skills.

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  22. Let’s hope that swagger & fire win us some football games Scu…
    Also I don’t know who came up with the rules but in all my years of watching the draft I have never seen a team pick a Long Snapper. I’m sure there’s some young aspiring GM out there looking to change 100 years of tradition. 😃 Cheers Scubog!

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  23. Don’t think we could’ve gone wrong with Allen or Oliver but Devin White has a lot of potential to be great here! Devin White’s leadership ability will make an immediate impact! Congrats to Devin and the Bucs!

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