Why Outside Linebacker?February 13th, 2014
Sometimes, Joe doesn’t understand football people. Granted, Joe will never be Chucky much less Jim Bates, but about some Bucs-related matters, Joe just has to scratch his head.
There are all sorts of draft analysts that have the Bucs taking Buffalo linebacker Kahlil Mack with the seventh pick. Others have the Bucs taking UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr. Help Joe out, someone.
No one could be swimming in so much vodka to suggest the Bucs are trying to replace stud Lavonte David. That would be patently absurd. As Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times recently pointed out, the outside linebacker slot where Jonathan Casillas and Dekoda Watson manned, that position was only on the field for 42 percent of defensive snaps, as the Bucs were often in nickel packages with Leonard Johnson.
So if the outside linebacker not named “David” plays less than half the defensive snaps, why in the world would you spend a No. 1 pick on him; a seventh overall even? Now if the Bucs really believed that’s a major hole to fill (Watson is a free agent and who knows if Casillas can come back after an ugly knee injury?), Joe would suggest the biggest Ric Flair fan south of Lake City, Mason Foster be moved there.
Foster was an outside linebacker at Washington in college. He’s played average to above average with the Bucs as a middle linebacker. Now if Foster was going to slide to the outside, then, yeah, Joe can see drafting a linebacker at No. 7 — a middle linebacker.
Now if these linebackers like Mack and Barr are slotted to be defensive ends, that’s a whole different animal. But Joe hasn’t heard that about Barr; he has about Mack.