The buzz around the first-round draft picks energizes a fan base. The buzz around the top 10 draft picks is even more intense. Those players taken in the top 10 of the draft are expected to instantly transform the fortunes of the team that drafted them! They are viewed as premier playmakers, and fans expect to be entertained.
So what happens when that savior fails to dominate the second they step onto the field?
Fans become disheartened, and some will become vocal. The phrases “bust” and “reach” are commonplace in forums and communities. So-called “experts” will appear on their shows and state how the stats show that this player is out of their depth and struggling.
You’ve already guessed I’m talking about the 5th overall pick, Devin White.
Billed as having elite speed and instincts and expected to make play after play, White was advertised as a player who would spend so long in the opponents’ backfield he’d need to pay rent.
The reality wasn’t this at all. In three games, White recorded just 4 tackles. Remaining noticeably invisible in those three games. Fans were left wondering if this was another busted pick. An ongoing saga of “Bucs life!”
Fans need not worry!
Speaking to the media, Head Coach Bruce Arians said,
“I thought it was extremely solid,“ when speaking about White’s preseason, “as far as running the show and doing all of those things. I don’t go into tackles and all that. He did his job and covered his guy.”
This statement seems to confirm what has been said by many here at Bucs Life News, that White was being used very specifically and so stats wouldn’t say anything about the performance of Devin White.
Arians went on to say,
“We didn’t do some of the things we’re going to do in the season with him, but I thought he handled that part of it and that’s all we wanted, him to get out there and get accustomed to his helmet and calling the defense. When teams hurried up, he handled it. He’s a poised young guy.”
For this reporter, this statement is highly encouraging. Why rush someone? In my opinion, Arians is doing the right thing by letting White grow into his role and getting him used to the NFL.
While fans would love to see gaudy stats and splash plays in the preseason, it isn’t real football for many players and the long term goal is far more important.
Let’s see a few meaningful games before calling Devin a blessing or a bust.