As initially mentioned in the first edition of the Buccaneers' seven-round mock draft, linebacker is currently one of Tampa Bay's top position groups. This season, Tampa Bay has been led by the dynamic duo of former Pro Bowlers Devin White (69 TCKLs, 2.0 SCKs, 3 PDs, 1 INT, 2 FFs) and Lavonte David (90 TCKLs, 3.0 SCKs, 1 PD).
With the possibility White and David may depart in free agency this offseason, however, the Buccaneers will need to find an eventual replacement through free agency or the draft. Here, the Buccaneers do just that with their second-to-last pick in the draft, selecting Casey, who has emerged as a do-it-all MLB for Indiana this past season.
Standing at 6'2" and 235 pounds, Casey has served as the true anchor on the Hoosiers' defense in his redshirt senior season. In 12 starts, Casey has recorded 109 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, three passes defended, and three fumbles forced, all career-and-team-highs.
Of Casey's 109 total tackles, 78 were solo tackles, which led the Big Ten Conference and was third in the nation. Casey's 20 TFLs would also lead the conference, while his tackle, sack, and fumbles forced totals would all finish as top-five marks in the conference. As a result, Casey was named to the All-Big Ten First Team.
Even though the Hoosiers posted their third straight losing season at 3-9, Indiana's defense was improved behind Casey. For reference, Indiana gave up 29.9 PPG to their opponents this season, the 101st mark in the nation. With this said, the Hoosiers gave up 33.2 and 33.9 PPG in 2021 and 2022, which ranked 109th and 120th marks in the nation, per Sports Reference.
In hindsight, Casey had plenty of solid performances this season, but none were greater than in Indiana's week ten matchup versus Wisconsin. Against the Badgers, Casey recorded nine total tackles (seven solo), four tackles for loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble, and later earned the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Honors.
As it turned out, Casey proved to be the reason why Indiana was able to hold on and defeat Wisconsin in Bloomington for the first time since 2002. First and foremost, Casey managed to sack QB Braedyn Locke on third-and-15 to force the Badgers to punt the football with 14:14 left after moving the ball to the Hoosier 18.
During Wisconsin's next offensive drive, on second-and-10 with 11:42 remaining, Casey laid a major hit on RB Cade Yacamelli to force a fumble that CB Jacob Mangum-Farrar recovered. That fumble would later lead to a 50-yard field goal by K Chris Freeman to take a 20-14 lead, and Casey's second sack with 20 seconds left would seal Indiana's lone win in conference play.
After playing safety in High School, it becomes clear why Casey is such a great pass coverage linebacker. Coupled with his ability to disrupt the run and pressure the quarterback, Casey is a true do-it-all LB that any team could use in the 2024 NFL draft.