FAB 4. There’ s A Lot For Bucs To Like About LSU’s White
PewterReport.com has had LSU inside linebacker Devin White atop each of the first two 2019 Bucs’ 6-Round Mock Drafts, and for good reason. Tampa Bay needs more depth and talent at the linebacker position, especially as the team converts to Todd Bowles’ 3-4 Under scheme, and White is one of fastest, most athletic playmakers at the linebacker position in this draft.
Now it’s time to get to know White a little bit more.
The Big Takeaway
I spoke with several NFL scouts about White while attending the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl practices and they raved about his talent and character. They all said that he was a Top 10-caliber draft prospect and that if the Bucs wanted to take him at No. 5 that wouldn’t be considered a reach at all.
Former Pewter Reporter and current NFL Draft reporter for WalterFootball.com Charlie Campbell spoke to an anonymous scout on the record in the fall about White’s skill set.
“This kid could end up being similar to Ray Lewis. I’d take White over any of the linebackers this year. He’s unbelievable. Unless he gets hurt or completely shuts it down to protect himself, he’ll be the first linebacker drafted next year. He’s the complete package. Great character. He’s the signal-caller of the defense with a super football IQ. He’s big, study, and stout enough for Mike – middle linebacker; swift enough for Will – weakside linebacker -, great athlete and coverage instincts. Stacks up the stat boxes, all of them. He’s fast, an explosive tackler, and [has] elite reactionary quickness.
“Right now, he’s among the best, and maybe the best, I’ve scouted. Better athlete and versatility than [Dont’a] Hightower. More explosive, violent, and bigger than C.J. Mosley; same level of instincts. Better than Jerod Mayo at Tennessee. Bigger than Jonathan Vilma while being more violent and instinctive than D.J. Williams, same kind of freak athlete explosiveness-wise. [A] thumper like Sean Weatherspoon. Basically, he’s a bigger version of Roquan Smith in the 240-250-pound range. He’s FUN to watch. Unbelievable stamina and motor. He could be the best linebacker ever to come out of LSU.”
That says a lot, given the fact that LSU has pumped out quite a bit of talented linebackers in recent years, such as Tampa Bay’s Kwon Alexander, Kendell Beckwith and Kevin Minter, in addition to Atlanta’s Deion Jones and Duke Riley.
Quotes That Matter
I had the chance to recently speak to Minter, a former second-round pick in Arizona in 2013, who signed with the Bucs halfway through the year last season, about White.
“He has everything – size, speed and playmaking ability,” Minter said. “He’s got the tenacity and he’s smart. I’ve talked to him throughout the season and every once in a while he’ll ask me for advice, but I’ve tried to talk to him and get a feel for how he thinks. He wants it, man. He wants it the most. There are some guys with that kind of talent that don’t have the want-to, but he does. Whoever picks him is going to be excited about the kind of guy he is and the kind of player he is.”
Minter said that White, who won the 2018 Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker, is helping turn LSU from DBU (Defensive Back University) to LBU (Linebacker University).
“There’s a tradition that we’ve gotten established in the past few years,” Minter said. “We’ve been known as DBU and seen all the DBs get the glory over the past few years – and they kind of deserve it – but at the same time, us linebackers make some noise, too. With the guys that we’ve had come up through the ranks with Kwon, me and Debo – we’ve always preached about being fast to the ball and being physical. It speaks to our tradition. We want it. Devin kind of set the standard even higher. He set it higher for the next guy because he’s going to be a high first-round pick. I’m excited about the LSU Tigers and what we have going on there.”
Videos You Have To See
Like Beckwith, a fellow LSU alum and current Bucs linebacker, White loves horses and has several, including one that he rides around campus. White thinks of Beckwith as his big brother.
White was the leader of the LSU defense and is full of confidence and swagger. He loved playing for the Tigers so much that he waited until the deadline to announce he was leaving LSU after his junior season for the 2019 NFL Draft.
The FABulous Ending
The more research I do on White the more I love him as a draft prospect for Tampa Bay. For those that suggest the Bucs are fine at linebacker with Lavonte David and Alexander, it’s important to note that Alexander remains unsigned and is coming off a torn ACL. While David is still in his prime, he recently turned 29 and has missed a combined five games over the last two years.
With the Bucs expected to switch to more of a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the team needs to add some more linebackers, and drafting an attack-type linebacker like White in the first round makes an awful lot of sense.