This coming Thursday marks the one-week-out mark for the 2019 NFL Draft and as such, draft analysts are hedging their bets more firmly for each team. It means a lot more Devin White popping up across the board in the number five slot.
It seems to make the most amount of sense given White's talent and the Bucs' need at inside linebacker with Kwon Alexander gone. But it's also somewhat unexpected that a linebacker would be taken within the top five with a large crop of pass rushers and interior linemen still ripe for the taking. It again speaks to the kind of player White is and just how well he would fit in to the Bucs' new defensive scheme. The selection also seems to be widely contingent on the fact that defensive lineman Quinnen Williams is already off the board by pick number five. There are a couple mock drafts out there that do have him still on the board and therefore have the Bucs taking him instead. Charlie Casserly's mock draft on NFL.com is the only one that has them passing on him.
Read below for the rationale behind the picks.
Charlie Casserly (April 9) – LB Devin White, LSU
Casserly: "He's an instinctive football player who can make plays from sideline to sideline."
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."
Mel Kiper Jr. (April 10) – LB Devin White, LSU
Kiper: "Tampa could go a number of directions here, and trading down should be an option. But I think White is a perfect fit in the middle of that defense as a Kwon Alexander replacement and three-down stud. This is high for a linebacker who doesn't rush the quarterback, but the 2018 Butkus Award winner is that good."
Chris Trapasso (April 11) – DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Trapasso: "While he's best as a penetrator, Williams' experience two-gapping inside would be music to the ears of new Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Awesome pairing with Williams and Vita Vea inside."
Ryan Wilson (April 8) – 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."
Dan Kadar (April 15) – LB Devin White, LSU
Kadar: "Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver has continued to be connected to the Buccaneers, but it just doesn't make sense. He's obviously a good player, but how much impact will he make early in his career? If Tampa Bay wants a player who will have an impact early, that is White. He's an upgrade over the departed Kwon Alexander, and any other player on the roster."
Scott Reynolds (April 10) – LB Devin White, LSU
Reynolds: "Because they don't need a quarterback, the Bucs are in a prime spot to trade down so that a quarterback-needy team like the New York Giants (No. 6), Jacksonville (No. 7), Denver (No. 10), Miami (No. 13) or Washington (No. 15) could move up to select the first one – either Missouri's Drew Lock, Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, Duke's Daniel Jones or even Oklahoma's Kyler Murray if he doesn't go No. 1 overall to Arizona or No. 4 to Oakland. While we featured Tampa Bay trading down in the first round in our second mock draftand getting White at No. 7, that was before the LSU standout blazed a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Now White, who is one of the most athletic and physical defenders in this year's draft, is viewed as a legitimate Top 5 pick and won't get outside the Top 10. If Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and Allen already gone, the Bucs opt for White for the third time in a PewterReport.com mock draft."
View photos of Charley Casserly's latest mock draft.