The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have a lot of work to do when they report for training camp on July 25. Fortunately, the team has already completed the necessary work to make that reporting day go smoothly.
On Saturday, the Buccaneers agreed to terms on a contract with rookie linebacker Devin White, their 2019 first-round draft pick. Like all first-round picks, White got a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth year. That agreement means the entire 2019 draft class – and therefore the entire 90-man roster – is now under contract. Players must have a signed contract in order to report for training camp; rookies are due to report on Sunday.
The Bucs selected eight players in the 2019 draft and signed five of them – second-round cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, fourth-round outside linebacker Anthony Nelson, fifth-round kicker Matt Gay, sixth-round wide receiver Scotty Miller and seventh-round defensive lineman Terry Beckner – during their subsequent rookie mini-camp. Deals followed a bit later for the Bucs' two third-rounders, cornerback Jamel Dean and safety Mike Edwards. White was last, unsurprisingly, as deals for high first-rounders are a little more complicated, but in the end that process was completed with before it could interfere with White's first training camp.
White (6-0, 237) is likely to step right into the starting lineup alongside Lavonte David as the two inside linebackers in the Bucs' new 3-4 defensive front. An explosive playmaker, White has sideline-to-sideline range and is adept in run defense, coverage and rushing the passer. He is the highest-drafted off-ball linebacker in franchise history and it is anticipated he will become a long-time cornerstone for the Buccaneers' defense.
At LSU, White became a starter by his sophomore season, when he led the SEC with 133 tackles and added 14 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, one interception and four passes defensed. A second-team All-American that year, White graduated to consensus first-team All-America status in his junior year and won the Butkus Award as the nation's top collegiate linebacker. He produced another 123 tackles last year and added 12 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and six passes defensed. White then forewent his senior season to declare for the draft early.