If you were surprised by the pick of Auburn linebacker K.J. Britt in the fifth round, so was Britt. The Bucs took the hard-hitting linebacker after very little pre-draft communication with him. There was something about Britt that Tampa Bay liked, though, after only one meeting at the Senior Bowl.

“I was really blindsided,” Britt said. “I only really talked to the Bucs at the Senior Bowl, I had a great interview with the Bucs at the Senior Bowl. Didn’t talk to any of the coaching staff or nothing during the process. I had interviews with teams like three or four times and just one time with the Bucs at the Senior Bowl, like I said. Just made a good impression on them I guess.”

Bucs ILB K.J. Britt
Bucs ILB K.J. Britt – Photo by: USA Today

The Bucs put an emphasis on a few areas to improve their team, namely speed and a love for the game of football. Britt certainly fits their definition of having a passion for the sport. Though he missed all but two games last season due to injury, Britt still wanted to make sure he could return to play in the Senior Bowl to get one last look in front of scouts. Britt had a great week of practice where his fiery demeanor was on display. He was voted the top linebacker in practice and made five tackles in the game, in addition to a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.

“It hurt me not playing all these games,” Britt said. “I just wanted to go to the Senior Bowl and show them I could ball and just show what I could do. And just show that everything that I could do – try to put it to showcase.”

Britt ran a slower than expected time of 4.76 during his pro day, but pulled up during his 40-yard dash due to tightness in his hamstring. Most NFL teams had pegged Britt as a linebacker with speed in the 4.6 range.

Britt knows coming to the Bucs that he’ll play behind two studs in Devin White and Lavonte David. It’s a great opportunity to learn from the best in the league. In the meantime, he’ll play a role on special teams as he learns the defense.

“It doesn’t matter what I play,” Britt said. “I just want to be on the field. I’m hungry. I’m eager to play. Not playing this year, it really had an effect on me mentally, as well with the draft going in the fifth round, but it doesn’t matter, I just want to play football again. I don’t care what I play, I just want to go with a team that’s a winning team – Super Bowl champions from last year. I just want to go play and it doesn’t matter what I play, I promise.”

Another emphasis the Bucs had in this draft was improving on their special teams unit. Britt has experience playing there and could be fun to watch due to his hard-hitting nature. He’ll gladly accept that role to help contribute to the team right away.

“I want to play special teams,” Britt said. “I want to get better any way I can, I want to help the team out. I’m a big team player. If they need me on special teams, they need me on special teams. If they need me on defense, then defense. I just want to play football. At the end of the day special teams, defense – it’s all football. I’m a football player and I just want to play football. I’ll let the rest take care of itself.”

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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4 days ago

I like his upside a lot. Being a fast LB isn’t as important as being a LB who can read the field. I like him as a Special Teams guy (other than the punter and kicker and Minter, most of the S/T guys sucked). But he could provide good depth for injury as well – much like Minter did. Honestly, drafting a LB is one position where you aren’t wasting your pick unless they turn out to be a bust. I’m always a fan of drafting trenches, DBs, and LBs as they are the cornerstones of the team in my… Read more »

4 days ago

Does this guy have the flexibility to play some defensive end, or stand up end edge rusher? I think he does. He’s an all in football player, another piece, good pick.

Alldaway 2.0
Reply to  surferdudes
3 days ago

Yes he knows how to blitz as a stand up rusher. Very good going downhill and hitting the hole. Great value for blitz packages, depth at ILB, and for special teams improvement.

4 days ago

Just what we needed. Love his attitude as well as his performance on the field.

4 days ago

They missed on Humphrey in the 2nd round and it derailed the draft at that point for us. Had they selected Humphrey by moving up for him we would have had Derrick Barnes in the third round who is a huge upgrade over KJ Britt. So, we ended up with Hainsey and KJ Britt over Humphrey and Barnes, and as a consolation prize we picked up a QB who will likely never play a meaningful snap for us. Very disappointing. Hopefully Tryon and Darden will save this draft class for us in the end.

Reply to  Spartan01
4 days ago

Way too early to prognosticate on prospects being better than others. It wasn’t long ago that many here and at PewterReport argued that Derwin James was better than Vita Vea and that the Bucs “missed.” But Vea was a critical player for the Bucs SB win over the Chiefs – could you say the same if Derwin James was drafted instead? The same could be said of Ali Marpet and Alex Cappa, two high picks from small schools. I bet many thought they wouldn’t succeed – but here we are.

Reply to  WeAretheChamps2002+2021
4 days ago

Well said.

Reply to  WeAretheChamps2002+2021
4 days ago

I remember the whining and moaning about James but I for one was glad to see the Bucs go to Vea. I always prefer DL over CBs. Liked both Marpet and Cappa but thought they could have been drafted a round later.
The Trask pick does nothing for this team and is much like the Packers blowing a No. 2 for Love who did nothing to contribute to the Packers last season. The same will be said of Trask. I don’t give a damn what college he went to.