Linebacker Talk

April 2nd, 2019

Bucs coach Bruce Arians

The offensive mind was talking linebackers.

Last week at the coaches breakfast during the NFL owners meetings, Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians was peppered with linebacker questions.

What was a year ago one of Tampa Bay’s strengths is now perceived as a potential weakness.

The Bucs lost middle linebacker Kwon Alexander in free agency as well as his replacement Adarius Taylor, who did not embarrass himself. Also, the team is really tight-lipped about starting linebacker Kendell Beckwith, who required ankle surgery after an auto accident last April and hasn’t played a snap since. The dour demeanor of Bucs types when mentioning Beckwith’s name suggests his days as a football player are in jeopardy.

The Bucs did add a former Arians linebacker, Deone Bucannon from Arizona, who Arians is very high on.

“Everybody loves Kwon,” Arians said. “Total respect in the league. Deone has played a lot of football. Won a lot of games. He was a guy that didn’t have a position. I talked to Todd [Bowles]: ‘He’s one of out best 11. Get him out there, somehow.’

“And we created that money linebacker position and he just took off. He’s a passionate, powerful guy in a small body. I mean he’s a stick of dynamite.”

Now the way the Bucs are talking, Carl Nassib and/or Jason Pierre-Paul could play outside linebacker, though Arians has already said he plans to line up JPP over a guard some. Bucs AC/DC-loving general Jason Licht said at the combine Noah Spence (remember him?) is no longer a defense end but an outside linebacker in what could be his final year with the Bucs unless he shakes off whatever cobwebs he’s stuck in.

If the Bucs were to have a linebacker corps of Lavonte David, Bucannon, Nassib and JPP, Arians said he’s good with that.

“Those four, if you told me that’s all I had? Let’s roll!” Arians beamed.

Still, would the Bucs be misguided enough to draft an inside linebacker at No. 5 in a draft loaded with coveted edge rushers? Of course Arians didn’t tip his hand. But when asked about drafting linebackers, he did bring up the names of Devin White of LSU and Devin Bush of Michigan.

“These cats are special.”

But “special” at No. 5? More like reckless.

64 Responses to “Linebacker Talk”

  1. ChixDigScarz Says:

    Special??? That’s the DT guy from Bama…Quinnen Williams.

    White and Bush are good LB’s, but Barrett will be a good addition here and then we won’t be able to afford to re-up him in 2020. Not the brightest contract there, rest of 1 year deals are fine.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Edge Rusher Please!!!!

  3. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    Edge Rusher Please!!!!

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    along with those 4 we have k.minter, n.spence and s. barrett….

    picking a LB at #5 would be reckless knowing GMC is out the door…..

    draft Quennin Williams or Ed Oliver to run with VV…..


  5. Anonymous Says:

    Idk, i dont understand the LB hate tbh. Do people just view that position as a run stuffer or something? Guys like Barr, Kwon, and Mosely just made bank so clearly the position has value.

    Sure sacks are important, but not everything. Having a LB with the speed and athleticism to cover RBs out of the backfield and TEs is still valuable, especially in a division with Kamara, McCaffrey, and a healthy(?) Devonta Freeman.

    Idk, maybe im just missing something

  6. BringBucsBack Says:

    JPP & Nassib as OLBs? I hope/ suspect this is only smoke.

  7. Alanbucsfan Says:

    If Bucs come away in 1st 3 rounds with a linebacker, DLineman and OLineman, regardless of what position is picked first, and they all can play, it will be a good draft.
    I remember many critics of Bucs possibly picking Derwin James in 1st round last year.
    If they keep picking secondary and running backs, after all the draft capital spent on that last year, well , let’s just say fan confidence won’t be there.

  8. doolnutts Says:

    BringBucsBack — This is what I have been trying to tell people. Usually, when you switch from a 43 to a 34 the DE’s in a 43 are typically put into a 34 OLB. It is technically easier to transition from a 34 to a 43 because the OLB’s can translate a little easier. JPP/Nassib will almost definitely struggle in coverage so I am curious what the game plan is.

    OLB – JPP/Spense
    DE – Gholston
    DT – McCoy/Allen
    DE – Vea
    OLB – Nassib
    MLB1 – David
    MLB2- Bucannon/Minter

  9. Lord Cornelius Says:

    JPP is not going to stand up much or drop into coverage per Arians which is good because that’s not his strength.

    That = 3-4 DE IMO not 3-4 OLB. Will also likely be hybrid where he might technically be a 3-4 OLB but pre snap still plays with his hand in the dirt.

    Nassib can play more standing up as a 3-4 OLB/DE. That is Shaq Berret’s pure position and guessing the #3/4 would be Spence until we get some more depth.

    IMO if we went to work today

    DE-JPP/Beau Allen
    OLB-Shaq Berret/some JPP/Spence

    ILB-David/Beckwith if healthy

    I’m not as high on Josh Allen after watching more tape but this is why he fits probably best since we only have Berret as a pure 3-4 OLB/edge rusher type.

  10. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree….


  11. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “If the Bucs were to have a linebacker corps of Lavonte David, Bucannon, Nassib and JPP, Arians said he’s good with that”. Giant smoke screen. Your middle consists of David & Bucannon so … WHO STOPS THE RUN UP THE GUT when we play the better running teams? 211 lb Bucannon after he gets off the block from the 250 lb Fullback or a pulling lineman? Ya right. It all sounds really good … UNTIL the other team decides to play smash-mouth football and runs right over you.

    BA has it right on White & Bush … “These cats are special.” But of course to you Joe, that’s just ‘reckless’ talk.

  12. unbelievable Says:

    Alanbucsfan Says:
    April 2nd, 2019 at 12:54 pm
    If Bucs come away in 1st 3 rounds with a linebacker, DLineman and OLineman, regardless of what position is picked first, and they all can play, it will be a good draft.


    100%. I just hope our 1st rounder is the D-lineman, not the linebacker.

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “WHO STOPS THE RUN UP THE GUT when we play the better running teams”

    Likely Kevin Minter and not Buccannon. Run heavy 3-4 IMO:

    LDE-Will Gholston/Beau Allen
    NT-Vita Vea

    ILB Lavonte
    ILB Minter

    That alone = a bunch of big boys before we talk about the LBs. Essentially 3 DTs in a 3-4 and then you have JPP who is stout against the run.

    ANd for the recod I’d be fine with one of the Devin’s in a trade back. I would be fine with Devin White at 5 if I thought he was Luke Keuckly but he has legit miss tackling problems. He has tons of upside but he is not some polished LB at this point and I hate chasing potential in the draft especially in the top 5.

    I honestly feel a lot safer about Devin Bush than Devin White. The athleticism is extremely similar but Bush has way less missed tackles and appears to have better natural instincts, while he’s basically extremely athletic and within a hair of most of White’s testing.

    Move back to 11 and get another 2 / 3 and then I’m fine with either

    11-Devin Bush LB
    2A-Jeffery Simmons DT
    2B-Chase Winovich OLB/DE

    3A-BPA RB or RG
    3B-BPA RB or RG

    Boom there you have your new 3-4 MLB/ new 3-4 DE/DT / new 3-4 OLB/edge rusher. Instant front 7 rejuvenation that matches scheme.

    Then get yourself a RG and RB and call it a day IMO.. Take fliers on CB/WR/OT at that point

  14. tmaxcon Says:

    from the 250 lb Fullback

    1970 flashback are you????? fullback is a dead long forgotten position from the days of cavemen and a time when defense actually mattered back when men played football….

  15. SCBucsFan Says:

    The Bucs will win 5 or 6 games no matter who they draft. I almost hope for a LB at 5 just to see the scathing article in this forum right after the selection.

  16. Kobe Faker Says:


    Again?…Whats up with the Bucsheeps fascination with this walking shoulder harness?

    this is like my STD condition ….keeps on coming back”

    “Kobe told LC to finally burn his 57 jersey and now he feels like a new man. Also cured LC impotence problem”

    Kobe Faker

  17. Siege the Bay Says:

    Josh Allen/Montez Sweat gives us depth at LB and DE in a 3-4 scheme.

  18. BucsFIRE Says:

    SCBucsFan Says:
    “The Bucs will win 5 or 6 games no matter who they draft.”


    LOL, wow that’s inspiring.
    Why even bother to show up?

  19. Not there yet Says:

    I remember Patrick Willis for the 49’ers being drafted at the top although it was not at 5 I don’t remember who was on that d line but it wasn’t a reckless pick. Dude was on pace to have a hall of fame career

  20. Lord Cornelius Says:


    It’s just a matter of no other bodies my liege. Who else am I missing that I could list over him as of today?

    3-4 OLB appears to be our weakest spot on the 3-4 roster.

    We have 1 stud ILB and 2 serviceable ILBs.
    We have NT/DE types between Vea/McCoy/JPP/Allen/Gholston.

    But at 3-4 OLB/DE we have Shaq Barett and that’s it basically. Nassib is not a prototypical 3-4 OLB/DE at his 6’6 280 lb frame. We have no other 250-260 lb speed edge rushers that can also drop in coverage.

  21. SCBucsFan Says:

    BucsFIRE I root for them whether they win 5 or the Super Bowl. Doesn’t mean I don’t have eyes and see what’s coming down the tracks at us.

  22. 813bucboi Says:

    WHO STOPS THE RUN UP THE GUT when we play the better running teams?

    thats why you draft QW or EO to pair with VV!!!!!!!…..


  23. tmaxcon Says:

    BucsFIRE Says:
    April 2nd, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    SCBucsFan Says:
    “The Bucs will win 5 or 6 games no matter who they draft.”


    LOL, wow that’s inspiring.
    Why even bother to show up?

    5 to 6 wins is at or slightly higher than the average win total for the last 16 years…. is it inspiring NO is it reality YES… this is a small market minor league franchise trying to compete with winners. no talent on roster, no cap and the glazers in charge… hardly inspiring

  24. BucsFIRE Says:


    I thought maybe T.m.a.x. and moved to South Carolina!
    No, I am just kidding man. Truly.

    I hear you loud & clear and rooting right along with ya.

  25. 813bucboi Says:


    not sure if he’s better than nassib but he’s a better
    “fit” since he rushed the passer as an OLB in college….but i would still have nassib over him as of today….


  26. SCBucsFan Says:

    BucsFIRE he can’t move to SC… his Mom doesn’t have a basement here.

    I agree, Go Bucs

  27. Buccaneerscotty Says:

    It’s not reckless in a 3/4 defense !

  28. louden Says:

    Gotta agree with Joe.
    drafting MLB with 5th pick = wasted pick

    you can get enough good LB´s in later rounds.

    Games are won in the trenches

    Good O-line should be the foundation of it all, especially if you think you got some Playmakers and a QB, and Bucs think they have

    (and they do IMO – but i think they could still use another WR and/or TE:

    imagine of the following goes down: OJ Howard, Mike Evans, Goodwin..

    then what? so there is even a need for another good receiving option .. injurys just happen all the time.. )

    Next thing: Bucs O-line is still horrible and Demar Dotson won´t get better in his last playing years .. and Donovan Smith is/was a typicall Bucs Draft Pick.. there were WAY BETTER PLAYERS available.. but Bucs draft the bust of course..

    so i would be perfectly okay with drafting one heck of a Tackle someone to keep pressure away from Joes´mancrush Winston.. gotta protect the QB + it´s good for the running game..

    NO F#+! need for a RB in the first 3 rounds PLEASE!!!!!

    every sane GM can find a good plug and play RB outside the first 3 round (besides our incompetent GM)


    and if the 5th pick is not Tackle Jawaan Taylor
    and a very good DT/DE is available – get him..
    McCoy/JPP won´t be here forever neither…

  29. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Devin White “reckless” at # 5…….I think not…..only if the big 3 are off the board……only reckless if you are obsessive over drafting an edge rusher

  30. tmaxcon Says:

    A great pass rusher can carry a mediocre lb all the way to the hall of mediocrity…. just look no further than sapp and brooks…. generational pass rusher careers mediocre undersized lb to promise land….

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Adarius Taylor completely embarrassed himself in that Browns game when Mayfield juked him out of his shoes on a huge run. Yeah, there was more to the season than that play, but to say Taylor didn’t embarrass himself would not be accurate.

  32. Joe Says:

    Yeah, there was more to the season than that play, but to say Taylor didn’t embarrass himself would not be accurate.

    You are going to kill a backup over one play? Joe stands by his claim. If Taylor really did embarrass himself, he would have gotten benched and wouldn’t have gotten paid last month.

    By that standard, Lavonte David is a bum. Remember the dumb penalty he got that lost the Jets game a few years ago?

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    All Noah Spence is doing is costing someone more deserving an opportunity at this point.

  34. DB55 Says:

    Can somebody tell me what’s wrong with Tre Lamar and why no one is talking about him? Seems to me like a legit mlb with strength and power who can be grabbed on day 2 but wtfdik.

  35. BucsFIRE Says:

    ^ I agree with you.

    … and that person more deserving is Noah Spence.

    So far he has robbed himself.

  36. JimmyJack Says:

    Joe your argument makes sense in a perfect world but it’s not reality.

    Truth is there is not an unlimited supply of “special” or coveted Passrushers in a draft. Truth is that special elite talent can be found at any position.

    You have to look for the elite players at Top 5. If our scouting says Gary is All Pro destined great. Take him…….If they say Sweat and Ferrell are All Pros great.

    But you never once ask yourself if the Bucs only think Allen or Bosa are the only elite-type Passrushers? Then what do you do? Take a good Passrusher just because he plays a certain position? WTF dude……..This is why it’s nonsense. You can find a good Passrusher in round 2……just ask LUV.

    I’m cool with the Bucs take a Passrusher but only if then believe they are getting a AllPro Talent ………If not you look for it talent at another position. Like LB if you see a elite player.

    You get elite player so you can be great someday ……..If you pass up elite players you will struggle to ever get great.

    I’m sure I put a word or two in you mouth during that rant. Just let it roll off your back.

    *END RANT*

  37. JimmyJack Says:

    Brooks is a HOFer you everloving moron.

  38. JimmyJack Says:

    Bonzai…….Spence is costing anybody a opportunity. There will be competition at his position. They have to beat him out. Which wouldnt shock me at all.

  39. Anonymous Says:

    Not there yet, you CANNOT compare White to Willis. Willis was one of best mlb prospects ever and still didn’t go top 5. White wouldn’t even be top MLB prospect the last two drafts.

  40. BucsFIRE Says:

    ^ Very true, JimmyJack, and yet oddly……it also would not shock me if Spence ends up starting and having 9 sacks.

  41. Doctor_berto Says:

    Not there yet, competing Willis to White is laughable. Willis was one of best MLB prospects ever and still wasn’t drafted top 5. White wouldn’t have even been top MLB in the last two drafts.

  42. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “DB55 Says:
    April 2nd, 2019 at 3:27 pm
    Can somebody tell me what’s wrong with Tre Lamar”

    Ran a 4.95 40 at his pro day.

    Modern NFL LB needs to be able to run with RBs/TEs in coverage. Keuchly was a 4.58 so 4.6 is probably the threshold

    White & Bush are the only elite athletic high profile interior LBs that I’ve seen really. Othewrise likely taking fliers on guys in the 4th or later

  43. louden Says:


    u are right – if a player has special skills compared to the rest, should draft him no matter what


    i have said it once and i will do it again:

    Every ffff#+^´ing year we heard the BS “we were close rah rah rah” and it´s simply BS because the Bucs have had a looser Roster year in and year out..

    they have never started yet finished TO BUILD A TEAM.


    IT STARTS UPFRONT O-Line / D-LINE should be build first..

    Buccaneers O-line and D-line are weak – this year again , just like all the many years before…

    and this draft class is loaded with good D_Lineman and there are many good pass rushing prospects ..

    i guess this is why Joe is all over the Pass rushers..

    i agree on that to – but at the same time you gotta look at the current and possible future Roster..

    GMC old and expensive (we could get a very good DT at pick #5)- same like Demar Dotson (and we are in prime position to get a very good Tackle – maybe the best in this draft at #5 with Jawaan Taylor)

    JJP is already old – won´t get better – would be nice if the can repeat the production from last year (and there should be some very good Pass Rushers available at pick #5)

    Nassib IMO is a very good backup/rotational guy – but not a very good starter..

    so a very productive Pass Rusher makes sense..

    no matter what

    the first two picks (because of our draft position) should be very good..

    (drafting a kicker in the 2nd round while his team has holes all over the place in the modern time of American Football – and this guy still has a job.. i don´t get it… and he makes way more money than we do..)

  44. JimmyJack Says:

    If White is Worthy of a Top 5 pick you won’t be able to replace him.

    MLBs that good come around once in a rare while. The list is short enough most of us know most of the All Time best off the top of our heads.

  45. Doctor_berto Says:

    JimmyJack, yeah that good, huh? Even though he would be the second best MLB the last two years lol.

  46. JimmyJack Says:

    And yeah, if your MLB is one of the Greatest he will be destroying QBs is his whole career.

  47. JimmyJack Says:

    Berto……2nd best?

    I’ll admitt I never watched White…….. Whether White is worthy of Top 5 I dont cause I don’t watch college.

    I’ll let y’all argue about that one for now. I ain’t watching no clips for players we might draft.

  48. JimmyJack Says:

    Louden. Good point but gotta say two things.

    1-Your wrong that the OL & DL are weak this year. This cannot be determined til August at earliest.

    2-I can’t blame you. But he is a Buc and I am supporting him. Personally, I have liked the players on this team a lot more then most Buc teams. I think they have been underachieving and have potential.

  49. JimmyJack Says:

    And I realize I am setting myself up just to be let down if the Bucs suck again…….but I have realized over all of these decades that I can handle losses a lot better……I used to be a sore loser but the Bucs have hardened me to handle losses better.

    All the holes in my walls are now patched and painted with no new ones.

    But I will never patch the boot hole created from Bert Emanuales in 1999…….that scar shall live forever!!!

  50. Anonymous Says:

    Learning a new system with talent that is marginal and not designed for the system they are learning?
    What could possibly go wrong?

  51. Not there yet Says:

    For the two posters who can’t read I didn’t compare white to Willis However I did point out how significant an impact he had on his defense which a linebacker can do. A 3-4 is about the linebackers not the d line. As long as they are stout enough to give backers room to flow to the ball it will be a successful defense. I don’t want any white at 5 but you don’t know what kind of career white or bush will have but love all these draft gurus talking about what he’s will be do at the next level like you know, if they trade down I would be ok with the pick but I do agree at 5 take a pass rusher but I could see white going that high if he’s has great cover skills

  52. NOSBOS Says:

    I wonder who’s the most important LB for the 3/4 coach that wins the super bowl every year??? Not,I know who it is Dont’a Hightower. 6’3 260lbs 4.68 40. I wonder why.NOT,cause Bill Belichess doesn’t concern him self with pointless sacks that could result in a 15 yard penalty anyway. See they come and go over there outside linebackers Dlinemen,Dont’a and those secondary members remain.

  53. NOSBOS Says:

    Smart coach that Bill Belichess.. He’ll prolly win another Super Bowl next season and y’all will be back here same place same time complaining about sacks. Phsst..

  54. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    ^^ The KC Chiefs led the league in QB Sacks last year, I believe, and had a worse D than us…. if that is possible.

    NOSBOS, you are correct that it is NOT always about the edge rush.

    However, all that being said…. I still desperately want one of these great edge rushers too. Hahahaha

  55. NOSBOS Says:

    Y’all really think in this day and age the NFL wants to see its QBs getting pounded??? Really??? Think again man. That’s why Belichess says to hell wit pressure,he drops 7 into coverage instead. Much more reliable tactic.

  56. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    ^ Yea, just not as fun.

    But I hear ya man. That’s why I also mentioned the Chiefs stat to go along with your Pats thoughts.

  57. rrsrq Says:

    Bucs bringing in Jaylen Ferguson from LaTech, broke T-sizzles college record of 45sacks, Bucs also met with him at the senior bowl. projected second round, you know J Licht is not scared to trade back into the first round. I can se the Bucs trading back, picking up MLB Devin Bush and then trading back into the first with whatever pick they receive back into the first round, this is the kind of player if you do not get in front of the Pats, they will snatch up. Mid major with high production.
    Also, Noah Spence will be that guy again. Nassib will also be nice, funny how he has one good season comparable to Spence’s rookie season, but we want to throw Spence away.

  58. Rod Munch Says:

    JPP is not a LB, that would be stupid to ask him to move at this point in his career. I mean perhaps I’m wrong, but even if I am wrong and he is a LB, then who is your DE? I don’t really buy this talk right now.

  59. Joeypoppems Says:

    I agree that EDGE is the more important position and a need, but ILB still has value in today’s NFL.

    Having a LB that can cover RBs and TEs is valuable, especially with RBs becoming more involved in the passing game.

    I would rather see them take Ed Oliver or Brian Burns at 5 over a LB, but if Devin White was the pick I would be cool with it. Dont see how its reckless or a waste lol.

    We are coveting a stat, sacks, that happens so little in the grand scheme of things.

    For every sack Aaron Donald got last year, Christian McCaffrey caught 5 passes.

    For every sack Von Miller got last year, Alvin Kamara caught 5 passes.

    For every sack Khalil Mack got last year, a Falcons RB caught 5 passes.

    Dont see how drafting a guy at 5 that can cover these receiving threats in our division is reckless and/or a waste…

  60. NOSBOS Says:

    Well said Pop.

  61. NOSBOS Says:

    And Demon it is boring but man-o-man how I would to experience coming to work on Tuesday after we won one just like that bro. I say Tuesday cause ain’t no way I would make inn Monday. Wouldn’t nearly be enough time to sober up.

  62. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Haha, I definitely hear ya brother!

  63. D1 Says:


    The Patriots were #6 in the league for QB pressures. Not exactly what you’re saying.
    But you’re right about using a flexible system that will drop 5,6,7 guys into coverge, even 8 at times, but you’ll find that if they drop 8 expect a delay blitz that acts as a contain if the QB moves from the pocket. And the scheme is designed to provide inside pressure.

  64. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    JimmyJack Says:
    April 2nd, 2019 at 3:43 pm
    “Bonzai…….Spence is costing anybody a opportunity. There will be competition at his position. They have to beat him out. ”

    And what about the guy who would get that shot in his roster spot? THAT’S costing someone an opportunity.

    Look, Spence will do nothing. We know this how? Because he’s years into the league and hasn’t done anything at all thus far. You can blame Koetter or coaches for some things, but not for Noah Spence. Coaches didn’t injure him every year.

    And during the very limited games he wasn’t injured, should he have been just handed opportunities when they were not earned? Heck no.

    If the Bucs brought back Robert Aguayo to compete, would that be a waste of time and opportunity? Yes.

    And yet, Aguayo was more proven than Spence. Aguayo actually produced points!

    Cut bait on Spence. He’s never going to produce for the Bucs. Better to bring in an undrafted guy to get his opportunity.