Buccaneers: Devin White on the cusp of elite status

Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Devin White will continue to dominate with the Buccaneers.

While the argument always stands that taking a linebacker in the first round of the draft is a dangerous precedent to set, Devin White’s time with the Buccaneers stands to counter this point.

White has been a force of nature since he arrived with the Bucs, and after a remarkable 2020 campaign and showing in the playoffs, White is on pace to emerge as one of the best linebackers in the NFL next season.

By the end of last season, White was already one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL at putting pressure on the quarterback. With 9.0 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and 16 quarterback hits, the Buccaneers practically had another pass rusher lining up off the defensive line. Did we mention this pass rusher also runs a 4.4?

Analysts may point to White’s lack of success against the pass, but that isn’t the part of his game that makes him great. The Bucs don’t need two coverage linebackers in their current defense, especially with Lavonte David serving as the primary coverage guy anyway.

With White freed up to get in the backfield, the Buccaneer defense took massive strides forward in 2020. The added pressure on the quarterback from the front-seven was painfully evident for opposing offensive coordinators to see, and White was able to have one of the most impressive statistical seasons at the position.

Given the impressive improvement between year one and year two, White is on pace to take even more steps forward in 2021. With added confidence from a Pro Bowl snub and a Super Bowl win, White is on pace to receive more recognition next season, which will only boost his credibility as an All-Pro when mixed with his impressive level of play.

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Devin White still has some work to do to end up as an all-time great at the position in franchise history, but he has already lived up to his first-round draft status, and it looks like the best is still to come.

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