As the draft inches closer, mock drafts become more focused. Everyone seems to be zeroing in on LSU linebacker Devin White to go to the Bucs at No. 5. The fact that an inside linebacker is the popular pick and widely considered as the best player who will be available says a lot about White's talent. Positionally, inside linebackers are somewhere in the realm of running backs when it comes to positional value.
The reason for White's surge to the top may have as much to do with his talent as it does with the Buccaneers' new defensive scheme, though. The switch from a 4-3 base defense to something that resembles more of a 3-4 requires a lot of its linebackers and all the draft analysts are picking on White to complete the puzzle for Tampa Bay.
See more of their reasoning below.
Charles Davis (April 2) – LB Devin White, LSU
Davis: "I still believe that Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat is a strong possibility here, but with former Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander now in San Francisco, Tampa Bay reloads with another LSU sideline-to-sideline speed merchant who thumps"
Chad Reuter (March 28) – EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
Reuter: "The Bucs are switching to a 3-4 scheme under new coordinator Todd Bowles, and Allen fits like a glove at outside linebacker. In fact, he'd fit at linebacker in any system."
Peter Schrager (March 26) – LB Devin White, LSU
Schrager: "The Buccaneers hoped to bring back veteran inside linebacker Kwon Alexander, but the stud LB signed with San Francisco instead. So, they grab the next LSU inside linebacker coming down the pipeline. White blew scouts away at the combine with his speed, and I've had a general manager compare him to Patrick Willis. Not bad. The Bucs need some of that, and a whole lot more."
Mel Kiper Jr. (March 25) – LB Devin White, LSU
Kiper: "White, a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the combine, is one of my favorite prospects in this class. And after the Bucs lost Kwon Alexander in free agency, White (6-foot, 237 pounds) can step in and fill the void at middle linebacker. As I noted in my Mock Draft 2.0, the No. 5 pick is a spot to watch for teams trying to move ahead of the Giants to draft quarterback Dwayne Haskins."
Ryan Wilson (April 7) – LB Devin White, LSU
Wilson: "Offensive line is an obvious need, too, but White fills a hole in the middle of the defense and he is one of the most dynamic players in the draft. He's a sideline-to-sideline thumper who will make life easier for both the front four and the secondary."
Chris Trapasso (April 4) – DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Trapasso: "While the Buccaneers are reportedly shopping veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, giving new DC Todd Bowles a force like Williams to add to McCoy and 2018 first-round selection Vita Vea on the defensive line would be something to see."
Dan Kadar (April 1) – LB Devin White, LSU
Kadar: "There has been a lot of talk connecting the Buccaneers to Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver. While he's a very good player, it's hard to see the value while Tampa Bay still has Gerald McCoyon the roster. White is an excellent player in his own right, and he could star on the team's defense for years."
Scott Reynolds (March 17) – DE Josh Allen, Kentucky
Reynolds: "PewterReport.com was the first to feature LSU inside linebacker Devin White going to Tampa Bay with the fifth overall draft pick in our initial 2019 Bucs' Six-Round Mock Draft and also had White going to the Bucs at No. 10 in a trade down scenario with Denver in our second Bucs mock draft. That could very well still happen, as Tampa Bay needs help at inside linebacker after losing Kwon Alexander to San Francisco in free agency.
But let's mix it up and illustrate a scenario where one of the top draft prospects falls to Tampa Bay at No. 5. If Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray goes No. 1 overall to Arizona and another team, such as Miami, Denver or the New York Giants trade into the top 4 to select Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins, one of the top three defenders – Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa, Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams or Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen would be available for the Bucs at No. 5.
In this case it's Allen, who would be an ideal fit as weakside outside linebacker in Todd Bowles' 3-4 base defensive scheme. Allen would be the perfect heir apparent to Jason Pierre-Paul, who turned 30 on January 1, and a player that could come in and be an impactful situational player as a rookie without the pressure of playing every down as he transitions to the NFL in his first season."