Why Outside Linebacker?

February 13th, 2014
Surely NFL draft analysts are not that inebriated to believe the Bucs should replace Lavonte David the way they are seemingly pimping the Bucs to select an OLB at No. 7 overall?

Surely NFL draft analysts are not that inebriated to believe the Bucs should replace Lavonte David the way they are seemingly pimping the Bucs to select an OLB at No. 7 overall?

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.

47 Responses to “Why Outside Linebacker?”

  1. bucbucbuc Says:

    Watched several of Anthony Barr’s games as a UCLA alum, and I can tell you he’s a very raw talent that can be coached up to play defensive end. While he might be better suited for a 3-4 scheme, his explosiveness off the line is intriguing enough to convert him into a full time DE. He is still only scratching the surface of his potential as a lot of his fundamentals need to be shored up. What he needs is a good defensive staff to help his development, which the Bucs can claim to have this year. Wouldn’t be a bad pick IMO

  2. WalkdaPlank Says:

    @Joe – Do remember how well the play of Mason Foster and LVD improved when Quincy Black was playing good football at LOLB? When he went down with his injury, their play was largely affected. Casillas is an average OLB, and Watson is a valuable backup and excellent special teams player, but not a starter. With the addition of Barr or Mack, the Bucs could potentially have the best LB corp in the league! I like Foster at MLB, you said yourself that he played well enough to eat pineapple his sophomore year if not for the drop off of his play after Black’s injury.

  3. Suq Maddiq Says:

    On most sites other than here the bucs are just stop gaps for teams writers want to put cool draft picks for teams their audiences want to get excited about. If Johnny manhole went at no. 7, these writers wouldn’t have a job. Best thing to do in dumb mock drafts is to make an uninformed decision about a team nobody outside of central Florida cares about.

  4. BucsQcCity Says:

    I ‘m with you Joe on that one. Plus there’s not enough tape and good opponents to judge Mack. If we decide to go lb, trade down, get mosley

  5. Orca Says:

    Yeah, but what about Johnny Doucheball? This article isn’t about Johnny Doucheball!

  6. Pewter_Power Says:

    Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack are not “traditional” 4-3 outside linebackers such as Lavonte David. They are both more in the mold of hybrid linebackers/defensive ends such as Terrell Suggs and Von Miller. The point is the Bucs need help bringing hest off the edge and both guys could provide that without either guy replacing David.

  7. Martinii Says:

    IMO I think the tandem of David and Mack would be great. Leave Foster in the middle with Watson and Cassius on special teams and solid back-ups and our defense only gets better. Mack had 28 sacks and would bring help as an edge rusher. Barr is a 3-4 player.

  8. DontBucNH8 Says:

    Wouldn’t mind trading down in the to the late 2nd and getting Yarwin Smallwood and moving Foster to SLB. I like Foster, but not as a MLB

  9. rhenry Says:

    Wow! how nice it was to read a JBF article without having to click the read more button. Reminds me of the old days.

  10. Destinjohnny Says:

    Are u sure u want to say above average and mason foster in the same sentence??- i am okay to give you a mulligan if u want to take it mate

  11. Jim Says:

    The reasoning for Mack and Barr is some view Mack as a MIKE and Barr as a 4-3 edge rusher.

  12. Joe Says:

    Are u sure u want to say above average and mason foster in the same sentence??- i am okay to give you a mulligan if u want to take it mate

    Nope. First half of 2012, Foster played damned good ball. Thought he had a shot of eating pineapple. Tailed off towards the end.

  13. Joe Says:

    @Joe – Do remember how well the play of Mason Foster and LVD improved when Quincy Black was playing good football at LOLB?

    Very much so. People wanted to run into traffic because Mark Dominik re-signed him but Black showed that with a little coaching, he wasn’t that bad.

  14. Orca Says:

    I’m not concerned about Lovie/Licht drafting someone who doesn’t fit the defense. Also not concerned about the garbage coming from various mock drafts. Blah blah blah.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    From what I understand the thought is that Mack would be converted to a DE…..I like Sammy Watkins with the 7th pick if he’s there….but then Mack or trade down.
    Our defense is only 3 players away from being very dominant…..DE, LB & CB….

  16. Harry Says:

    I never understood this either. But the majority of mocks have us taking either Barr or Mack, weird. I read one eval and they thought one of them could be converted to a DE. I did not see anything about being a MIKE. But its crazy to be taking someone like that at #7. It makes no sense

  17. Kalind Says:

    Joe, you’re right. Those people are morons. They don’t care about the Bucs or getting that pick right. They just don’t. They’re worried about the Jets, Giants, Eagles, Skins, Patriots, Niners, and Texans. That’s it. The Bucs don’t matter to the powerhouse mock draft gurus.

    If they cared about getting it right, they would take into account our REAL needs and slot players there who make sense, Nix, Tuitt, Watkins, Benjamin, Robinson, Mathews or even the QBs who are less likely, like Carr or Bridgewater.

  18. Kalind Says:

    Mocking Mack or Barr is just impossible to defend. It just is guys. Sorry. If you think we’re even considering them, you’re wrong.

  19. Daffy Buc Says:

    They would use Mack or Barr the way Clay Matthews is used. That is their strengths.

  20. Glennon Mob Says:

    Joe, Mack would make a great inside line backer or DE. Hell he could play both.

  21. Kevin Says:

    Lovie would never draft someone that is not a fit or that is not needed. As a LB/pass rusher I could see it happening but not at no. 7. Trade down if that’s the case.

  22. Kevin Says:

    Lovie would never draft someone that is not a fit or that is not needed. As a LB/pass rusher I could see it happening but not at no. 7. Trade down if that’s the case.

  23. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I’m not patient enough for us to transition a player from an OLB to DE. I want to win now, and I want us to bring in someone with that first pick that can help us immediately.

  24. teacherman Says:

    They are both 3-4 edge rushers!

    They are not LB’s!!

    We may take Barr because he is like Simeon Rice. Thin, long, and fast.

    Barr is a converted RB, believe it or not.

    He is a freak. I would welcome him happily to Tampa.

  25. tnew Says:

    Umm Joe, both of these guys are 3-4 outside guys or 4-3 pass rush DE’s… Like everybody is saying. Cmon

  26. delson Says:

    Id rather take a pass rusher than manziel. Rather an olineman n a trade of nicks than manziel.

  27. Destinjohnny Says:

    Joe I bet u 100$ they foster won’t be the middle backer opening day

  28. Destinjohnny Says:

    Foster is the worst coverage middle backer in the nfl

  29. BucsfaninChina Says:

    Nope. The bucs couldnt use a pass rush specialist.

  30. buccanAy Says:

    clowney is the only top rated “real DE” and he certainly will be gone. the thinking is Barr/Mack as rush DE, which would be a gamble, IMO, with 7th pick. If Watkins is there, take’em, if not, take highest rate OT.

  31. Otto Says:

    Perhaps Foster wouldn’t struggle in coverage if we had a better pass rush.

  32. Owlykat Says:

    I am for Carr or Watkins in the first round whichever is there. If it is Watkins take Garappolo in the second round. For MLB go get the W.Va. MLB who was our MVP of the last Preseason Game last year and Dumb Schiano cut him after he showed he could cover passes and had the speed to play sideline to sideline and was tough on the run. Move Foster to SLB, with Watson his backup and special team star. I think Nix will be back and we can swap our Tackles and we will be fine with our OL. Meredith can play right Guard if our All Pro can’t regain his fine play of the past. Get a free agent DE, CB, and Hester or McCluster, and we will be dangerous this year with Lovie and his professional staff!!!

  33. Anzac Buc Says:

    Move Foster to LOLB and pick CJ Mosley in the first round.

  34. J 2.0 Says:

    Joe likes reading mock drafts about as much as Joe likes to down lizard urine craft beers at his local watering hole. But Joe finds it hard to believe that Lovie Smith, a man known for stockpiling linebackers and pass rushers throughout his tenure as a coordinator and head coach, would not want to trade away most of this years draft picks, as well as next years, to move up and draft super sexy stud quarterback Johnny Football. Can you imagine how Pfizer’s “Blue Diamonds” would be rendered obsolete in the Tampa Bay area if the Bucs somehow landed uber stud quarterback Johnny Football in this spring’s draft (not to mention all the satisfied wives around town.)

    But no, so-called “experts” are predicting that the Bucs either take a pass rushing linebacker (keep in mind that position was only on the field 42% of all plays last season and it is obvious to everyone that new coach Lovie Smith will naturally run the same failed Greg Schiano defense this upcoming season) or a ho-hum stinking receiver that will probably retire halfway through the season just to get away from the undeniable stench known as Mike Glennon. Now Joe has nothing against Mike Glennon, he seems as likeable as John Leguizamo in the 90’s, and I am sure he works very hard at his craft, but Joe thinks the Bucs should ship that noodle-armed living giraffe caricature off to an overpopulated Danish Zoo!

    Point is Joe is going to cheer the Bucs on this season, no matter who is quarterback, but he would prefer to cheer a team led by a dynamic playmaker that is undersized, has a possible alcohol problem, is clearly a raging Massingil product, and likely will not be able to succeed in an NFL system.

    (This post in no way reflects the opinions of the actual Joe’s and is meant in jest. Clearly this post is meant to generate some chuckles and J 2.0 hopes it is PG-13 enough for Joe’s audience. And even with some good natured jabs thrown the Joe’s way J 2.0 still relies on JBF for the best Bucs coverage and respects their work.)

  35. DTG Says:

    Foster struggles in coverage? That’s new. Actually, I’d say he’s darn good in coverage. 3 INTs and 7 passes defended says your wrong. BTW, Luke Kuechly who is considered one of the top MLB in the NFL posted 4 INTs and 7 passes defended.

  36. Arealbucsfan Says:

    Move foster to the outside and get Ryan shazier in the 2nd

  37. Brandon Says:

    DTG-Ever heard of right place, right time? Foster is not good in coverage, not the worst mind you, but of all 4-3 MLBs he is not very good. He’s solid in short zone, often getting into passing lanes and cutting off hot routes, but ask him to cover a RB out of the backfield one-on-one or play T-2 and cover deep 1/3 and you’re asking for trouble. He’s probably already been told he needs to lose weight to get faster.

    That being said, Barr COULD be a DE and so could Mack. The RDE in the T-2 is not a true DE in every sense of the word. They almost always line up very wide in a 9-technique look and these guys are often very light (Freeney, Rice) because their greatest attribute is their speed and ability to turn the corner. Barr and Mack have that speed and in addition to 245 lb frames that can add a little bit of weight without sacrificing speed.

    If the Bucs were to truly go LB at their current spot, I could see them taking their field general, their Urlacher, Nickerson, Quarles, in Alabama’s CJ Mosely who is a near carbon copy of LaVonte David. Having those two roaming the middle of the Bucs defense would give them two of the NFL’s best.

  38. Brandon Says:


    Najee Goode is a Philadelphia Eagle.

  39. phil Says:

    The only thing the Bucs should be drafting in the first round is quarterback. They should be moving up to the first spot of the Texans and getting Johnny Football. Without a quarterback this coming season will look like last season.

  40. Karl Says:

    Honestly I think it would be a great move. We could use either player like Denver uses Von Miller. On passing downs, you can slide either player at DE and have Lavonte play the Mike position just like Derrick Brooks did back in the days. Derrick Brooks himself said a lot of times he was playing the mike position.

  41. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Smoke screen.

  42. Jeagan1999 Says:

    Barr and Mack can both put their hands in the dirt and come off the corner as DE’s in rushing situations…or play the traditional SAMbacker role.

  43. Kalind Says:

    Guys. There is such a difference to playing outside linebacker, inside linebacker and DEnd. That’s why when people get hurt, you don’t see DEnds move back and play middle linebacker. It’s too different. Mack is a pass rusher. Period. Full stop. End of story. He is not. Not. Not. A middle linebacker. He’s never done it. It isn’t his strength. Same w Barr. He’s a pass rusher. At BEST he could play the Von Miller position. But we don’t run that defense do we? And it’s not what Lovie wants to do. Or Frazier. So guys….put those two out of your minds. Just because those two MIGHT become decent pass rushers, doesn’t mean we blow up the scheme. Part of the reason we feel so comfy about Lovie running the D is HE knows it WORKS. If he blows it up for a new thing, it might not.

    Neither of those guys are coming to Tampa.

  44. GoNoles Says:

    Dont forget that Lovie’s defense requires a different type of middle linebacker. I see it as Kalil Mack playing the MLB spot and Fostor sliding over to SLB becuase his cover skills are not so good. If we take Anhony Barr he will probably play DE, he is built a lot like Simeon Rice when he came out of college but he might even be faster than Rice. With that said, I am still rooting for us to select an offensive player in the first round like Watkins.

  45. Buc_The_World Says:

    None of this even matters if we pick up Hardy or Allen in FA. This is why I hate mock drafts.

  46. Buc_The_World Says:

    And I don’t mean for linebacker I mean for defensive end.

  47. Mike J Says:

    Karl & Jeagan1999, I concur. I have been whining the last couple drafts for a guy who can play sam & go three-point on passing downs, & now Gholston at DT,the pass-rush would improve a lot.
    You in effect get two players with a single selection.