Round 7, Pick 215: Cody Barton, LB, Utah
Weird enough, after losing Kwon Alexander to the San Francisco 49ers and with Kendell Beckwith’s future remaining unclear, the Buccaneers do not seem too worried about their linebacking core. With the offensive talent of the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Carolina Panthers, who Tampa Bay will have to face twice per year, this makes sense.
The signings of Deone Bucannon and Kentrell Brice seem to indicate that Bowles intends on running a defense similar to the new-age NFL scheme of replacing linebackers with safeties. Even after signing both Brice and Bucannon, there have been rumors that other safeties such as Clayton Geathers have come to Tampa Bay for visits; this would seem to indicate that the Buccaneers would rather load up on safeties rather than linebackers to play in the second level of their defense.
With that being said, the Buccaneers do not add a linebacker until the seventh round of this draft after adding Adderley, another safety in the second round. Barton had a successful 2018 season, tallying117 tackles, four sacks, and one interception; he also deflected an additional six passes from the second level of the Utah Utes defense.
Barton tested well athletically at the combine, not only excelling in the agility drills where he ranked in the 80th percentile in the 60 yard shuttle, 96th percentile in the 20 yard shuttle, 82nd percentile in the 3-cone drill, and 70th percentile in the 40 yard dash, but he also hit a staggering 30 reps on the bench press. This amount of speed and strength are well worth a look in the seventh round.