Pro Football Focus throws shade at Buccaneers Devin White in re-draft

He may not have had his strongest season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021, but the disrespect shown in this re-draft is a little much for the young Buccaneers linebacker.

Devin White has had something of an interesting career with the Buccaneers so far and is becoming a bit of a lightning rod issue amongst Bucs fans. The fact of the matter is though, in a franchise rich in linebackers throughout their history, White is already one of the most talented the Buccaneers have ever had at the position, even in his short tenure thus far and Tampa Bay.

While the criticism of White during his up-and-down 2021 season has been tough, yet fair, the disrespect and shade have officially gone just a little too far. After all, he was a Pro Bowler last season for whatever that’s worth.

Pro Football Focus on their official Twitter account decided to do a re-draft of the top ten picks in the 2019 NFL Draft now that three seasons have passed. As a lover of “what if” scenarios, naturally it caught this writer’s eagle eye right away.

In reality, the Bucs made White out of LSU the fifth pick in the 2019 Draft, making him the first linebacker drafted in the top five since the Seattle Seahawks took Aaron Curry out of Wake Forest fourth overall in 2009. The only other linebackers taken top five this millennium were Ohio State’s A.J. Hawk (shaht aht) by the Green Bay Packers fifth overall in 2006, and Washington’s selection of LaVar Arrington out of Penn State second overall in 2000. In this alternate reality that Pro Football Focus created, White doesn’t even crack the top ten.

So let’s dive into this, because where to even begin.

For starters, White has absolutely been a top ten talent, especially looking at the other people drafted ahead of him in this re-draft. So right off the bat, there is disrespect there popping White out of the top ten altogether.

As far as the Buccaneers go, while Maxx Crosby is an unbelievable pass-rusher, and player in general who deserved every penny that the Las Vegas Raiders through his way. That said, he wouldn’t exactly fit the scheme in Tampa Bay. Crosby is more of a classic hand-in-the-dirt edge rusher. The Buccaneers run more of a 3–4 front, so unless Crosby has some hidden skills in pass coverage we don’t know about, or if he would put on substantial weight to be a down lineman with the Bucs, it wouldn’t exactly be the best fit scheme-wise.

As for White, the truth is, and while this may seem like hyperbole on the surface, the Buccaneers do not win the Super Bowl in the 2020 season, a season in which he was a second-team All-Pro, without him. Obviously, Tom Brady had a lot to do with that, but so did White.

White was one of the anchors of a defense that made Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs’ lives a living h-e-double hockey stick in Super Bowl LV. White and fellow linebacker Lavante David were flying over the field, and a case could easily be made that they both should’ve been co-MVPs of the game. That’s also not even mentioning that White’s interception of Drew Brees in the Buccaneers’ divisional-round victory in New Orleans is one of the greatest plays in franchise history.

If nothing else, this re-draft is a testament to how the NFL and the analytics folk have been devaluing the linebacker position year by year. The league gets more pass-happy with each passing season, so there are some who don’t see the value in linebackers.

The main point is though, that Devin White has been crucial to the success of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and while SOME criticism has been warranted, we’ve officially gone overboard of the pirate ship with the disrespect.