While the popular pick in this year’s draft to land in Tampa Bay with the fifth overall pick is Louisiana State linebacker Devin White, linebacker is not a pressing need for the Buccaneers early in the draft. After transitioning to a 3-4 defensive scheme under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the Buccaneers will be forced to field only two true linebackers, and they currently have two, possibly three, who have had significant playing time in the NFL.
With this scheme change, Lavonte David will see the majority of his snaps come as a mike linebacker for the Buccaneers, and after adding former Arizona Cardinal hybrid linebacker Deone Bucannon in free agency, they can wait until day-two or even early day-three to add another player to the middle of their defense.
One scenario in which the Buccaneers could prioritize the linebacker position is if they truly believe third-year linebacker Kendell Beckwith will not be able to play football again, and if they want to free up Bucannon to roam sideline-to-sideline. In this circumstance, Tampa Bay could look to draft a linebacker early, however there is a ton of value in the middle rounds at the position. This should persuade them from using the fifth overall pick in the draft to address the positional need at linebacker.