Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, Kendell Beckwith, Richie Brown, Devante Bond
The linebacking core of the Tampa Bay Bucs looks stronger than it has in the past ten years. With returning star players in Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, the future looks bright in the youth of the Bay. Both David and Alexander have been stellar players for the Bucs over the past two seasons, and under the leadership of Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith, look to continue their leaps towards greatness.
After not resigning veteran Daryl Smith this off-season, Tampa knew they had a question mark at their SAM linebacker spot. The hope last year was that sixth round draft pick Devante Bond would be able to be groomed for the eventual loss of Smith, but it seems as if Tampa no longer views Bond as the eventual heir.
Enter Kendell Beckwith. The third round draft pick out of LSU, who is coming off an ACL tear, was a major cog in the defense for the Tigers. Beckwith, who played more of a MIKE linebacker for the Tigers is seen as more of SAM in the Bucs defense. Expect Beckwith to compete immediately and eventually win the SAM linebacker job with much ease. Bond sticks around this season due to his familiarity in the system.
The last of the linebackers is Richie Brown. Brown who was a tackling machine for Mississippi State was one of the higher priced undrafted free agents across the league. This speaks for the Bucs as Leonard Wester received much of the same treatment. Brown (who has already had an impressive rookie mini-camp) will make his money on special teams, but could see his role expand if need be.