Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay released their dueling mock draft on ESPN.com today and like many other national pundits, agree that the Bucs take linebacker Devin White with their fifth overall pick.
Kiper: Devin White, ILB, LSU
"I'm beginning to think you're copying me, Todd. White could be a replacement for Kwon Alexander, who joined San Francisco in free agency. Defensive end is another position to watch here."
McShay: Devin White, ILB, LSU
"Yeah, I agree with Mel. White would be a great fit as the Bucs' defensive quarterback. His high-end instincts and speed helped him to 123 tackles in 2018."
This pick is essentially devoid of any drama, and not just because the two agree. Pretty much every analyst agrees and indeed, White makes a lot of sense considering the recent departure of Kwon Alexander in free agency like Kiper said. There is a need there for the Bucs and White looks to be a top five player as it is, making it an easy prediction and probably the reason most draft analysts are leaning that way.
White was a menace at the middle level for LSU. Like McShay mentioned, he had 123 tackles last year in Death Valley, bested only by his previous year in which he recorded 133. He's also able to make his way into the backfield, registering 12.0 tackles for loss with three sacks in 2018. He added six passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, as well.
He's become as well-rounded a linebacker as they come and could fit in as the Buccaneers' Mike linebacker position, keeping Lavonte David in his role of weak-side linebacker. David, of course, can wear the green dot and has been the defensive signal caller in the past when guys went down with injury like Alexander did last season. But Tampa Bay needs that true middle linebacker, which White could be. It's a tall order for a rookie coming out of college, but with the stellar grades on White as a prospect, it seems like he could handle whatever is asked of him.
For the full mock draft if you have ESPN+, click here.