Bowles, did his homework:
Heading into the 2019 draft, there was an obvious hole to fill on defense. Kwon Alexander had left via Free Agency for the Niners leaving a big gap in new Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles scheme. Looking for a special player that could be the “Defensive Quarterback” – If you will, an undisputed Leader, in word, and by example, basically – the Bucs were looking for another Derrick Brooks of some fashion. At least that was the mold they were seeking.
“You have linebackers that cover and don’t play the run that great. You have guys who can play the run who can’t cover that great,” Licht said. “He can do both exceptionally well, in addition to blitzing, which is an art itself.” Jason Licht
Bowles fell in love with White at the NFL Combine:
“It was impressive. Obviously, he’s a bright kid. He lights up the room when he walks in. The film speaks for itself and to have a player like that, we’re just happy to get him in and get to work.”
White was the Team Captain on Defense his last two years at LSU. He ran that Defense like the true leader that he is. Players respond to another player like that. They fall in, they are all in, and that showed during his time at LSU. There was never any doubt after the combine, and meeting with Devin that he was the man for the Bucs. Bowles and company watched every down that White, Oliver, and Josh Allen of Kentucky, who had 17 sacks his senior year alone, played in college. It just became clear to them that White was their man.
A Perfect Fit For Bowles Defense:
When asked about Devin White and his fitting into his scheme, Bowles had this to say,
“Well, they are part of the front, but if we’re getting there with the interior guys we won’t Blitz. If we aren’t getting there with the interior guys, we’ll blitz a little bit. So, it’s a 3-4 and a 4-3. A lot of the league is played in sub-personnel anyways, so we’ll have four down quite a bit.”
The outstanding versatility of White allows Bowles to use him in many ways. As well as being a great run stopper, he can fall back and cover against the passing game and is much better at it than Kwon Alexander ever was. The cherry on top is that he is great at getting to the QB as well.
So there you have it:
Even before an NFL down is played, White appears to have almost no weak points. He is the first Linebacker the Bucs have taken in the first round since Derrick Brooks. I’m thinking this is a positive thing and a sign of things to come.
TidBit: White was recruited by LSU as a running back.