“Designated Badass”

April 26th, 2019


You start with the blazing 4.4 speed. Then you mix in the 28.5 tackles for loss, the 8.5 sacks, the 4 forced fumbles and the 3 interceptions.

Yes, Devin White has all the metrics a linebacker would want heading into an NFL draft. But the Bucs didn’t select White No. 5 overall simply because of his metrics.

They chose him because Todd Bowles wants a marauding defense and White has the look of a designated badass. A defense that had no face suddenly has a chance to scare some people, led by a former running back who made no bones about who was running the show in Baton Rouge.

Tampa Bay continued its linebacker pipeline to LSU Thursday night and Buc fans expect White to make an instant impact in the middle of this overhauled defense.

That doesn’t mean everyone was on board with this pick, particularly with Josh Allen and Ed Oliver still on the board. When Roger Goodell made the call at 8:56 p.m., a crowd of more than 400 Buc fans at Buffalo Wild Wings in south Tampa reacted with a mixture of cheers and groans.

“An inside linebacker, really?” asked one Buc supporter “With those defensive linemen still available?”

“White’s a stud,” said another. “He’s going to be great from Day 1. “

I understand both sentiments. What you have to understand is the Bucs were looking for a skilled defensive prospect who heartily embraced a leadership role, especially given the departure of Kwon Alexander.

Those folks are hard to find.

“He’ll be a linebacker like they’ve never had in Tampa,” Booger McFarland said on ESPN. “A guy that can run and hit at 240 pounds. When opportunity and need present themselves, Devin White was standing right there. This is the perfect pick for Tampa.”

New Face, New Voice

It’s not easy for a rookie to walk into a locker room filled with grown-ass men and command respect, but White is up for the challenge.

New Bucs savior Devin White

“I’m all about brotherhood, and I know that’s what it takes to win games,” he says. “If everybody’s on the same page we can reach our goals, so I think I can bring that leadership of just having everybody on the same page.”

Buc defenders haven’t even been reading from the same playbook the past two seasons. Breakdowns were everywhere. Leaders? Nowhere to be found.

Bowles is expected to demand accountability and White knows a lot of eyes will be on him this fall. His response: bring it on.

“You can’t be a guy that shies away from leadership,” he says. “You cant be a guy that doesn’t study and knows what he is doing on the field. You’re the quarterback of that defense, You have to be a playmaker and an absolute stud. I am not shy. I have to be able to go into the league, win guys over and start leading those guys.”

Buc fans know all too well that leadership can be a fleeting thing.

Jameis Winston was declared the face of the franchise before he even threw his first pro pass, which turned out to be a pick-6. Winston was suspended, then benched, last season, so that face is now dotted with plenty of worry lines.

Veterans like Lavonte David and Jason Pierre-Paul will welcome White to One Buc Place with open shoulder pads, but leadership roles have to be earned.

White has all the physical attributes needed to be as disruptive as Deion Jones, Atlanta’s stud middle linebacker who preceded White at LSU. But if White appears unprepared this fall and Allen posts 10 sacks for the Jaguars, Buc fans will be livid.

Facing Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton twice a year, the learning curve for White will be steep. He’s not studying Nick Tiano of UT-Chattanooga anymore.

If the Bucs got it right Thursday evening, they’ve found their defensive ringleader, a guy who can set the tone for a unit that has been tone-deaf for far too long.

Remember the “Average White Band,” a funky Scottish group from the ’70s that is still touring?

Brace yourself, Buc fans, for the “Well-Above Average White Band,” led by the confident new kid in town.

Ira Kaufman began covering the NFL as a New York Giants beat writer in 1979. He arrived on the Buccaneers beat in 1985, and the corporate leash finally was removed from his neck when he joined JoeBucsFan.com in July 2016. The award-winning Ira Kaufman Podcast fires twice per week, and Ira’s columns appear thrice weekly, except when Ira is on special assignment. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter also is a popular guest on various national radio and on local TV. 

Join DAY 2 of the annual NFL Draft blowout. Everything will get rolling around 5:30 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings in South Tampa. Indoors, outdoors, food and beer specials. And fired up Bucs fans, too. Around 450 in the house last night.

38 Responses to ““Designated Badass””

  1. Buc4life24 Says:

    He brings fire, leadership, and a skill set for the long term! Something we desperately need!

  2. Pickgrin Says:

    Ah – the voice of reason gets some page space.

    Nice piece Ira.

    Bucs were 100% sold on selecting White weeks ago. Why shouldn’t we trust BA and Bowles judgement of who the best player to improve our defense was now?

  3. Lubby Smith Says:

    Wow, he could be as good as 2nd round pick Deion Jones?!?!?

  4. D-Rome Says:

    “He’ll be a linebacker like they’ve never had in Tampa,” Booger McFarland said on ESPN.

    C’mon Boog, really? REALLY? Brooks doesn’t ring a bell?

  5. ARGH_M8E Says:

    If our old DT Booger says it’s the perfect pick with two Stud DL’s sitting right there… I’m perfectly cool with the pick. Good article Ira, something positive for a change around here is a breath of fresh air for sure!

  6. JustaBucfan Says:

    The same people applauding White will be backstabbing Licht next season when White has a ho hum season and Josh Allen or Ed Oliver explode onto the scene.

  7. Phil Says:

    As long as he’s the next Ray Lewis no problem.

  8. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Seeing the few interviews of White I was able to catch he’s not the next JW. JW always came across like a high school kid trying to impress the college guys. He ASSUMED his leadership without first earning it on the field.

    I do not expect this to be a problem for White who comes across as confidant (perhaps cocky for some) but not like he’s just ingested several hits of speed ala JW. I’m absolutely NOT accusing JW of drugs…just a figure of speech…JW is or was super hyper…that is not White. He will naturally and organically become the Bucs leader on D. He already has more credibility than JW. I like JW and think he will blossom this year…but he’s just too excitable to be a genuine leader. He’s calming down and so the starts of games this year will perhaps be better.

    White is already there as a leader.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    A bad-ass with speed…..a 240 pound cruise missile.

  10. stpetebucsfan Says:

    BTW Ira…love old music references being an old guy myself…but if I was going to work in the AWB I would have used their biggest hit. It’s what White will be singing after he blasts opposing players.

    “Pick up the pieces”.

  11. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Wow, he could be as good as 2nd round pick Deion Jones?!?!?”

    Do some research brother it’s not that hard:

    Devin White 240 lbs 4.4 40

    Deion Jones 220 lbs 4.6 40

  12. Ed Says:

    Looks like a killer (no, not an Aaron Hernandez) which is what you want in the middle of the field. Will he be the next Ray Nitsche, Dick Butkus, Ray Lewis or Brian Urlacher? Remains to be seen but he talks the talk (you don’t want bashful guys in his position) and hopefully will walk the walk.

    Understandably its not a popular pick because of the position, heres by position how many players were picked last night:

    Defensive Tackle- 6
    Defensive End- 5
    Offensive Tackle- 4
    Quarterback, Linebacker, Defensive Back- 3 each position
    Tight End, Wide Receiver -2 each position
    Running Back, Offensive Guard- 1 each position

    You can see why the cry is out for defensive linemen as 11 were selected but going back in Bucs history it was Hardy Nickerson’s passion to hit people that started the swagger for great Buc defenses to follow. Lets hope Mr. White has the kind of pedigree that Hardy had.

  13. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete (formerly known as 'The Kwon Alexander of Bucs Fans) Says:


    His Floor is basically Deion Jones and ceiling Patrick Willis & above…

    Please don’t disrespect the best player on our D.

  14. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete (formerly known as 'The Kwon Alexander of Bucs Fans) Says:

    *No disrespect to anyone else…

    We do have other great players on D as well, and I think it’s all going to come tougher now…

    I’m kinda pulling for Greedy Williams now in the 2nd and then maybe trade McCoy or Brate to trade back up into the 2nd for an O-Lineman… Just a thought

  15. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete (formerly known as 'The Kwon Alexander of Bucs Fans) Says:

    Come *together, not tougher

  16. rrsrq Says:

    Ira – did you use an AWB reference. Love it. I am not concerned if Ed Oliver or Josh Allen blow up. They likely will, but it is all about fit and I believe the Bucs found the right fit. I need our second round picks from a the last few years to blow up. I need the picks today to be starters, bring the same attitude that Devin White will bring. Kinda like when Sapp told Brooks, enough of this $&!* ends now. That what this draft class needs to be and it starts with the draft and takes off against San Fran.

  17. EvolvingBucsFan Says:

    Taller, Faster, and Heavier than Brooks was. I’m not a fan of comparing old Bucs to new.. so we just got our bad ass LB Devin White with Vita, Nassib (26 yo), and a young secondary that needs some good coaching and implementation.

    Now Go Get Jaylon Ferguson and some OL help.

  18. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete (formerly known as 'The Kwon Alexander of Bucs Fans) Says:


    White’s ceiling is Higher than Brooks’ ceiling…

    Again, no disrespect to the Great DB55

  19. Bucnjim Says:

    You mean we won’t have the singing, dancing, crying, hair painting party clown show on the sidelines that we’ve had for years. This soft drama filled crap had to stop and I think we’ve found the perfect player (and coach) to put an end to it. Now I’m singing!

  20. BradentuckeyBuc Says:

    The SLANT has killed us for years now! What good is a stud edge when the QB can take two steps and throw a 10 yard dart with his eyes closed to a wide open #3? A great defense need glue to hold the front and the back together as a unit…and we have that now…and he is a STUD!

  21. Bird Says:


    Can you write more articles today?
    Appreciate it

    He is a stud

  22. ManzielMadness Says:


    I thought Deion Jones ran a 4.38? Maybe one of his combine time/pro day was slower but I thought he was known for being pretty fast. White should be an upgrade over Jones in almost every other facet anyway. We got a good piece for our front 7, lets just hope Licht can address the trenches today.

  23. '79 Defense Says:

    Ira, nice Average White Band reference. Fitting that their biggest hit is called Pick up the Pieces. Doesn’t that sound like what the Bucs have been doing for years?

  24. Billy_43 Says:

    I’m pretty sure Booger knew exactly what he was saying about White with Brooks in mind.

    Linebacker like they have never had doesn’t imply he will be better than ANYONE!!

    Butt hurt people spouting off is all.

    Bucs have never had a linebacker who ran a 4.4 like White, PERIOD

    Brooks 4.67
    Nickerson 4.78
    Urlacher (Not on Bucs I know) 4.59 considered pretty Damn Fast then
    Lewis 4.58
    Willis 4.51

    Hell could be NOBODY has ever had a LB like White.
    That isn’t saying he will be the best ever.

    What it is saying is he is the perfect fit for a new Pass Happy league.

    Bucs biggest problem last year: Quick slants and WR/RB screens.

    Not in 2019 sir!!!!
    Try getting around that EDGE

  25. Lord Cornelius Says:


    You’re right actually he ran a 4.38/4.40 at his pro day.

    So basically Devin White minus 20 lbs and same speed

    College stats:

    Jones in 30 game appearances- 79 solo tackles / 164 total / 21 tackles for loss / 5 sacks / 4 pass break ups / 2 INT / 1 FF

    White in 34 game appearances – 114 solo tackles / 286 total / 28.5 tackles for a loss / 8.5 sacks / 9 pass break ups / 1 INT / 4 forced fumbles

    Comes out to this in terms of per-game impact – White vs Jones:

    Solo tackles – 3.4 per game vs 2.6
    Gang tackles – 8.4 per game vs 5.5
    Tackles for loss – .84 per game vs .7
    Sacks – .25 per game vs .16
    Pass break ups – .26 per game vs .13
    Int – .02 vs .06 lol
    Forcing fumbles – .12 vs .03

    Basically destroys him in every metric so I’m pretty sure he can be as good or better.

  26. Bird Says:

    Yah. I would hate to have another Derrick brooks / hardy nickerson type linebacker on this team

  27. TampaTown Says:

    When I think of a funky Scottish rock band I think Bay City Rollers

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Good article Ira. BTW, nice to see you come around to Devin White after supporting Joe in his crusade for a DLineman at #5. Don’t blame ya though (you’d never hear the end of it if you outright supported Devin White).

    Nice to see more & more JBFers coming around to the idea that Bucs really do need FIELD LEADERSHIP, and also that MAYBE BA & Bowles really do know what they’re doing. Joe will come around 1 day too … in about 2023 when White’s initial contract is up & we decide we can’t afford him any longer.

    The one thing that does concern me about the pick though ISN’T Devin White. It’s about far too many Bucs fans doing the same thing to him that they did to Jameis: creating unrealistic expectations of a rookie. He’ll make his share of great plays I’m confident, but he’ll also make his share of mistakes. It’s the nature of the rookie ‘beast’ … sometimes you eat the bear; sometimes the bear eats you. Steady progress is the key in my estimation. He’ll get better & better as our defensive TEAM as a whole gets better. Can’t wait to see what Round 2-3-4 bring.

  29. Jmarkbuc Says:

    “It’s about far too many Bucs fans doing the same thing to him that they did to Jameis: creating unrealistic expectations of a rookie.”

    If White can tackle and cover AT ALL, it will be an upgrade over Kwon..and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Bucs for the most part have always had great LB’s…can’t see why anyone would be upset with this pick.

  30. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Lubby with the stupid statement of the year.
    (Wow, he could be as good as 2nd round pick Deion Jones?!?!?)

    Ira never said this. Furthermore, what makes this stupid is that it doesn’t matter where a player is drafted once they enter the league. If you play like a stud you’re a stud. Lubby, if someone compares a QB to Tom Brady are you going to say “wow, he’s as good as a 6th round pick?”

  31. Max Vasher Says:

    Great article Ira! I don’t watch college ball. I had no idea who any of these possible bucs picks are. Now that I’ve studied up, I like this guy, ALOT! He’s got that fire in the belly and he’s ready to burn it with some guys. Both his resume and his camera presence shows it. Tampa D has needed a real heart for a long time – this man seems to fit the role perfectly. Go Bucs!

  32. Snook Says:

    Throw out the “don’t draft an ILB in the top 5” garbage.

    Luke Kuechly went at #9 and would probably go #2 if the draft were done over.

    Would anyone be asking “Really, an inside linebacker at #2?”


  33. TB22 Says:

    Badass? lol

    Bad asses don’t get driven 10 yards off the ball and pancaked into the turf like a little bitch.

    What is he going to do when he faces NFL OL everday?

  34. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Excellent pick in theory. We’ve been getting torched by Kamara and McCaffrey and Coleman (I know he’s gone now, though) game after game. DWhite should be able to help cover them. Good job Licht and BA.

  35. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Phil Says
    “As long as he’s the next Ray Lewis no problem.”

    That’s asking a bit much. Lewis had 168 tackles, 5 sacks, a safety and 3 interceptions in his rookie year.

    Bucs fans…always expecting too much of rookies…then playing the hater game when they don’t get it.

    White will be fine. Maybe not Ray Lewis fine, but certainly as good as Luke.

  36. rrsrq Says:

    @ TB22

    We don’t need him to be great every play, but we need him to be great most of the time. The comparison has been Luke K, I can think of two plays, one when the Bucs very own Chuck Sims shook him out of his shoes and was it last year when he got trucked and had a concussion. But he is still a badass

  37. Buccfan37 Says:

    I remember Average White Band. A song called “Cuban Crisis” had a line “i drank all the wine in Tampa last night and most of the beer.”

  38. ST Says:

    Nick tiano. Come on, he was studying some better players then that at LSU.