The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Louisiana State linebacker Devin White have been married by the media since day-one; here are five players to consider instead.
The fire continues to stoke as it seems like a love connection between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Louisiana State linebacker Devin White. Listed as the top linebacker by many, White is a hot pick in mock drafts to land in Tampa Bay with the fifth overall pick.
Looking at linebackers who are currently at the top of their game in the NFL, outside of Luke Kuechly of the division rival Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawk Bobby Wagner was a second round pick, Deion Jones was also a second round pick, Erik Kendricks of the Minnesota Vikings was a second round pick, and Joe Schobert of the Cleveland Browns was a fourth round pick. Even on Tampa Bay’s own roster, former middle linebacker Kwon Alexander was a fourth round pick, while Lavonte David was drafted in the second round.
Linebackers can have value in the first round, but tend to be more of a luxury pick than a premium position. The Buccaneers are not in position to have the luxury to use a top-five pick on a linebacker, especially considering they now run a 3-4 scheme that only utilizes two linebackers in the middle and they already have two solid starters in David and Deone Bucannon.
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While Bucannon may be given the freedom to roam the field like the heat seeking missile that he is if the Buccaneers draft another linebacker, there is plenty of value in the later rounds. Minnesota’s Blake Cashman, Stanford’s Bobby Okereke, and Notre Dame’s Drue Tranquill can all be obtained with a day-two pick and give just as much production as White would with the fifth overall pick.
The Buccaneers must first get closer to the quarterback before working out to the middle of their defense. With such a deep class at the pass rushing position early one, then a steep drop off, Tampa Bay cannot afford to allow an elite pass rusher, a position of higher premium than linebacker, out of their grasps. Here are five players for the Buccaneers to consider ahead of White.