Bucs GM Jason Licht was all smiles after selecting LSU linebacker Devin White with the fifth overall pick on Thursday night. Below is his press conference from Thursday following the selection.

On Devin White
“We’re extremely excited about Devin and we have been for a long time. He’s a very fast player, that’s not the reason we took him alone. He’s a physical guy, he can pressure with his ability blitz, he’s one of the better blitzing linebackers we’ve seen in a long time. He can cover and, last but not least, he’s a tremendous, tremendous person, leader. He’s very smart. You’ll feel his energy right away when you guys meet him.”

On drafting White while guys like Ed Oliver and Josh Allen were still on the board
“Devin White was our guy. There were some good players still, but Devin White. We went through that exercise for the last, however many weeks, that if this scenario came up that we were still going to take Devin.”

On not taking a pass rusher when this team has struggled finding one for so long
“We went through a lot of exercises. We’ve talked about these guys over and over, we’ve watched every play they ever played in college and we feel very comfortable that we made the right decision. He’s a linebacker but he’s also an attacking player. He’s a pressure type linebacker who can get to the quarterback as well.”

On if it was easier taking a linebacker in the first round with this being such a deep draft on the defensive line
“That goes into it too, sure.”

On what the signs were that White was the guy
“We’ve got a lot of resources at LSU from over the years, taking some players, especially linebackers. We’ve got a lot of great relationships there so we’ve been doing our vetting on him for a long time. When you meet with him, just his focus, his will to win, his plan, he’s a very thoughtful person in terms of what he’s going to do to come in here and become a starter, be a leader, be a quarterback of the defense. If you talk to any of his teammates they believe he’s the best player on their team, he’s been the unquestioned leader for two years there, I can go on and on. It’s pretty inspiring to be around him.”

On a special story about Devin White
“Just when he was here he said it just felt right here in Tampa. He had a brother that was a big Bucs fan, I’ll let you talk about that with Devin. He had a Bucs jersey as a kid and he wore that all the time, from what I remember him talking about that. I remember sitting around with him and a bunch of the guys upstairs and talking about, ‘hey, we just want an impact guy who can come in here and turn things around,’ and he said, ‘turn what around? We’re all undefeated right now and there’s no reason we can’t go to the Super Bowl.’ He’s just got that mindset.”

On if White can be enough of an impact player at MLB to justify the fifth overall pick
“We thought so, that’s why we took him where we did. We thought he was one of the better inside linebackers we’ve seen in a long time coming out of college. He’s still got to line up and play in the NFL but coming out of college, just his speed and all the traits I told you about, is very exciting to watch.”

On the importance of White being able to play downhill so well with great coverage skills
“It’s very important. You’ve got linebackers who can cover but don’t play the run that great, you’ve got guys play the run, that are stuffers, that can’t cover that great. He can do both exceptionally well in addition to blitzing which is an art in itself. You can have a super athletic guy who can run but he doesn’t have that knack for getting to the quarterback and he has that.”

On if it made him nervous with White repeatedly popping up to the Bucs in mock drafts
“There’s always a lot of uncertainty. I was a little nervous for a while, not necessarily because we were seeing it in mocks, I know that we weren’t letting that out, it just seemed like a good fit for a lot of people. To be honest you’re always a little bit nervous. We knew we were going to end up with a good player and we’re just glad it was Devin.”

On if the player fit the need perfectly this year
“It did, but I can’t necessarily say it was just because of the need. It was just kind of a perfect marriage for us this year. We have needs. We have needs on defense, we have some needs on offense but it just so happens it was a perfect union.”

On White fitting Todd Bowles’ scheme
“I think Devin would have been a good fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 but the fact that he can play downhill the way he does and get after the quarterback, that fits Todd. I’m excited about that for sure.”

On how White can be a leader and command respect at a young age
“He’s a very mature person and he’s, like I said vefore, he’s very focused but he’s very mature. He’s got an energy about him that when he walks in the room you feel him and we talked to a lot of players, whether it’s their pro day or the combine or here or a private workout and he definitely leaves an impression that doesn’t leave you.”

On if there was a highlight or game from White that stood out
“There’s a lot. Just his effort plays, and there’s a lot of those. Patrolling sideline to sideline as fast as he does and playing to the whistle regardless no matter what the score is in the game. Making big plays in big moments. I can’t think of any one particular one that stands out but there’s a lot of them, and that’s the mark of a good player when you can’t just say, ‘there was this play against Texas A&M,’ but there’s a lot of them.”

On the bonus of lining White up next to a guy like Lavonte David
“I think it’s awesome. I think Lavonte’s going to take him under his wing, I think Lavonte’s a true pro. I don’t think Devin needs to learn how to be a true pro but he needs to learn how to maneuver through the NFL, the training camp, the toll that it puts on your body, things like that, and I think Lavonte is the perfect person. I can’t think of a better guy to be his big brother here.”

On LSU’s ability to put out such good linebackers
“I think they’re well coached, I think they recruit very well and there’s something in the water there in Louisiana.”

On if the NFL’s transition to a quick-passing league has put a bigger emphasis on cover linebackers
“It’s hard to find one that can and that’s why you see a lot of defenses moving a safety to linebacker and playing a lot of dime instead of nickel. It’s because it’s hard to find a linebacker to cover these speedy tight ends and even some big receivers and running backs, these third down backs. We think Devin can and that was a big draw to him.”

On Devin White’s deficiencies as a player
“I want to talk about Devin’s good qualities right now, none that come to mind right now. Every player has deficiencies, no player is perfect. Devin’s got to line up here and come out through OTA’s and rookie minicamp and play in the preseason and the regular season before I start being critical of him.”

On if it takes a special guy to be such a leader and captain at 21-years-old
“Absolutely. It’s a special trait you don’t see very often and I know at LSU, Coach Orgeron, they don’t just hand that out. You’ve got to trust the player to have a handle on the whole team, which he did, and they met often. It’s like an extra coach there.”

On the importance of seeing him play against NFL talent in the SEC in college
“The SEC, Big 10, these major conferences when you’ve got players that you feel have exceptional talent and are producing and are very productive at a high level you tend to want those players more than you would guys who dominate at a smaller level. So yeah, it’s very important, Especially the SEC. It’s where the majority of the first round and a majority of the draft comes from.”

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Licht I hope this pick turns out well for you and the Bucs organization.

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  2. Can’t believe we did this a mlb in a historically great defensive lineman draft. Just like the bucs to mess this up. Why why why would you do this Jason. It worked out perfect you had your choice of Oliver or Allen and you chose a mlb who isn’t much better than your 4th round pick who you just met leave in free agency I was excited about the new coach. And was right on the edge of buying season tickets again. Because I miss them. Thank you for this dumb pick and saving me $3,000. I’m glad I waited until the draft. Name me the patriots and rams middle linebacker. Exactly you can’t with out googling. That’s how important that position is that you guys decided to take 5th overall. I know I will see this on a 30for30 where the Bucs passed on a hall of game player. Maybe jayson if you didn’t mess up are salary cap so bad we could have kept kwon and not wasted a 5th overall pick on a mlb.

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    • It’s BECAUSE it’s a ‘historically great DL draft’ that the Bucs have a little more room for leeway here. They can add an impact DL on Day 2. Kwon was great, but the contract he got from SF (and Mosely got from NYJ) shows what the value of off-ball ILBs is in the current game.

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  3. How Winston, VH3, Evans, Vea, and White perform to turn this into a winning franchise will determine Licht’s fate IMVHO.

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  4. Somebody help Jeff, I think he ran out of Midol

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  5. Let’s be clear, this was a need pick all the way. One minute Bruce Arians is saying you get fired for drafting for need. The next minute they take the ILB to replace the recently departed Kwon Alexander over a more highly touted and premium skill EDGE in Josh Allen.

    If the Bucs had reservations about Allen that’s fine. He had 31.5 sacks in college though, so good luck to Devin White. I hope he is twice the impact player the guy they passed on is. With Licht’s draft history that’s unlikely however.

    Just a reminder Licht also targeted Vernon Hargreaves and Roberto Aguayo in 2016.

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  6. “Just a reminder” yeah real breaking news there. and asking who the Linebackers are for New England is pointless because I couldn’t name more than Brady and Edleman on New England so that’s pointless. Josh Allen would have been nice and so would a trade down but in the end having a guy like Kuechley or Pratrick Willis on the team, people will hopefully know the name of our MLB and he will be busting some heads. You haters are gonna cry no matter what happens. White will be better than Kwon and he will pick this defense up out of the basement and be a favorite player here for a long time, and that whole time I don’t think the Bucs will be sad if there’s one less Jeff in the seats cause he didn’t like White at #5.

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    • You make a great point about Kuechley, he was a huge impact player for the Panthers D right from the start and helped turn it around. I think White can do the same here. Imagine what Carolina’s Defense would be without Kuechley? I would say they would about like the Bucs last year.

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  7. Jeffbuc, it’s your money. No one should criticize you for feeling this way. I recommend you wait until next year after the end of this upcoming season to reassess your decision. Save your money for now.

    As I fan I am trying to think “out of the box” a bit. I am hoping that the pick of White will represent a major blow to the losing culture of the past 11 years. The intangible White brings with his attitudes and maturity level are going to prove more valuable than all of his inherent physical talents and demonstrated skills put together.

    He has to show us all in the next couple of years that he is really is a true generational player akin to a Ray Lewis, a Lee Roy Selmon or a even a Derrick Brooks.
    ________
    Go Bucs!!!!!!

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  8. I’ve got nothing against Devin White. He’s gonna be a great player. But to pass up Josh Allen….Yikes! Personally I would have loved to see them take Ed Oliver, be I can see why they’d be reluctant to draft a 1st round DT two years in a row. But to pass on Josh Allen, that’s a head scratcher. You can’t say this was a need pick because they need an edge rusher just as badly, and legit edge rushers are VERY hard to find. And we had one fall right into our laps. And we passed on him.

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  9. … INTANGIBLES ….

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  10. You take the one position Licht has actually had success with in the later rounds and draft a LB the highest in draft history. Lol this is a bad pick Bc we should’ve taken Oliver or Allen who can get to the QB. Of course once Oliver or Allen make the Pro Bowl and White doesn’t they will say man give it time. This is like Derwin James last year, over drafted a player Bc Licht fell in love. Sick of this culture changing talk, newsflash licht the only thing that’ll change the culture is WINNING.

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  11. I disagree that they felt they had a need at EDGE like they had at ILB. The Bucs would expect to have JPP, Carl Nassib, Noah Spence and Shaq Barrett as your EDGE next year. While there is an obvious long term need at edge LB it’s not as pronounced as ILB in the short term.

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  12. I like the pick. The Bucs need an ILB, and who do they have other than Lavonte David? Jack Cichy? Injured most of last year, as well as his junior and sophomore years at Wisconsin before that. Riley Bullough? please! Kendall Beckwith, sadly but most likely done. Others on one-year contracts. No complaints here.

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  13. White is good LB and will start for next few years, I think this is better draft pick than last year! with Vea
    Not best option in my mind I think we will see Allen in Pro Bowls to come.
    Not sure why he passed on Allen??????
    Will be debate in future.

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  14. I have to say it and I know the negatives are going to come no team in the NFL needs a quarterback more than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do this will be obvious by the end of the year for years we’ll get to watch Daniel Jones play for the Giants and I will remember this draft. Why would you want a big strong fast quarterback on rookie contract that is smart when you have bust Jameis Winston for 21 mil ??????

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  15. And that is dumb for Licht to say. He locks into one player and sticks with that player no matter how the draft pans out. That is really dumb. You have Brees, Ryan and Newton in your division and you pass on the 2nd best pass rusher in this draft, for a guy who is a bad tackler and can’t get to the QB(8.5 career sacks in 3 years).

    But hey, he ran a 4.41 in the 40, so that means he’s good right.

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    • It’s funny how everyone points at White only having 8.5 career sacks as if it was all he could do. Then comparing his sacks to a top Edge rusher. The chances are, as a MLB, he probably wasn’t rushing on every play, right? Definitely not like an Edge rusher is. I would compare that to someone complaining about a running back not having enough receiving touchdowns in college when they were mainly a down runner, while comparing them to a top WR, who’s main job was catching balls, and his TD’s count. Some things are just out of players control due to play calling, and their responsibility.

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  16. This was a perfect union of need meets BPA. In Todd’s system, Devin White will thrive. Devin White has even said that they run a similar system at LSU to Todd’s.

    Ed Oliver and Josh Allen would have been good picks too, but I won’t lose sleep on our pick of Devin White. It can absolutely work here very well! We need a leader on this defense who will not accept losing or giving up leads. I think this pick will help grow that culture on defense better than the others would have! GO BUCS!!

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  17. Talent meets need meets SCHEME. This dude will be blitzing up the middle and dropping back to cover dudes we haven’t been able to cover. He will also be leading our locker room by mid-season. Quit bitching. We just added an all pro which is what you are supposed to do with the 5th overall

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  18. I went to bed drunk and pissed off, but I really do think he’ll be a good fit, and a stud player here. Bowles got the guy he wanted, and that’s good enough for me. Can’t wait to see his aggressive scheme in action.
    Go Bucs!

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  19. I love how we’re all experts on who the team should have picked with our priceless number 5. We’ve seen probably 1% of the game film the decision makers have seen, but to hell with them if they don’t listen to us.

    TB has had a losing culture for so long I bet all the potential draftees cringe when it’s our turn. At this point in my lifelong experience as a Bucs fan, it doesn’t really matter if they picked who I wanted or didn’t want. That person could be the next GOAT, but it’s the culture that needs to change and I think that is what’s happening this season at 1 Buc Place. The coaching staff is inspiring like never before, and we just drafted a very vocal team leader with aspirations of being the first $100M linebacker. I personally like the pick. I think he fits very well with the new regime and is a culture changer.

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  20. Well, maybe not the first, but he still wants $100M lol.

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  21. Jeffbuc…since you know everything, maybe you should be the GM. Always love Monday morning GM’s. Well genius, you asked who the Pats and Rams starting LB are? I’ll ask you the same question. Who’s the Pats and Rams best DE. Because last time I checked the Pats and Rams have better LB’s than DE’s. So your comment is pretty stupid. Give me an all pro LB over an all pro DE any day of the week!

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  22. Bucs fans may be the dumbest fans around. It’s absoltely priceless sitting here listening to people act like they’re reputable GM’s, and the actual GM’s who spend hundreds of hours throughout the year scouting college players are the ones that are stupid. Do I have a list of players that the fans on this site hated or wanted nothing to do with? Kwon Alexander, Justin Evans, and Lavonte David, OJ Howard, and Chris Godwin to name a few. All those players were bashed by at least half the people in this forum. If I ever ran a franchise, none of you, and I do mean NONE OF YOU, would be my GM or scout. According to half you clowns, Josh Allen is a sure fire, can’t miss, future 1st ballot Hall of Famer, and the next coming of Reggie White. Dude literally hasn’t played a single down in the NFL. Last time I checked, there’s a much higher success rate over the last 10-15 years with 1st round LB’s than there is with 1st round DE’s. An elite LB can change a defense way more than an elite DE can. It’s amazing how ridiculous some of you sound. Give it a rest. You’re not a GM, and never will be. You don’t know what Josh Allen will turn into, any more than you know what Devin White will turn into. So don’t even pretend like you do. Because you come off as a complete moron. None of these players have played in the NFL yet. Until they do, and fail, I’ll trust a man who gets paid to make these decisions over people working at Red Lobster

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