Early Signs Of A Superstar LB

February 24th, 2021

The new Ray Lewis?

In the lead up to the 2019 draft, Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians banged the drum that LSU linebacker Devin White was so impressive that his blitzing skills from the inside linebacker position would make all Bucs fans forget about the team’s too-long reputation for having a lousy pass rush.

This, of course, was before anyone outside of Colorado heard of Shaquille Barrett.

In White’s rookie year, he struggled blitzing from the inside. How or why that was, Joe isn’t sure. But the numbers were clear and Joe’s eyeballs told the story: White wasn’t quite yet to the level Arians predicted when it came to getting after quarterbacks.

In the latter half of the 2020 season White really picked it up and toyed with getting double-digit sacks, which was damn impressive.

And Joe’s eyes were not playing tricks. The PFF tribe has a stat to demonstrate pass rush ability, and their numbers demonstrate that White was a total beast of a linebacker last year when it comes to hounding quarterbacks.

When White returned from the COVID/reserve list after missing the regular season finale and the wild card playoff game at Washington, he played linebacker like a man possessed.

Joe actually heard someone invoke Ray Lewis’ name the way White played in the his three postseason games, and that’s not a crazy comment. White was animal-like, with double-digit tackles in each postseason game, including 15 in the NFC title game at Green Bay. He also had four takeaways (two picks and two fumble recoveries) in the Super Bowl run.

And to think White did all this while facing maybe three future Hall of Famers (Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Pat Mahomes).

(Joe just looked it up. Lewis’ first playoff experience was the year the Crows beat the Giants in Tampa for the Super Bowl, 2000. Only once in four postseason games did Lewis have double-digit tackles, and that was 12. The four quarterbacks Lewis faced? Gus Frerotte, Steve McNair, Rich Gannon and Kerry Collins. Lewis also had three takeaways including two picks.)

As we creep towards the end of February, who knows if Bucs stud linebacker Lavonte David will return or not. If he goes for a richly-deserved payday, Joe thinks it is safe to say David will be leaving the Bucs in good shape with White prowling the second level of the defense.

10 Responses to “Early Signs Of A Superstar LB”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Depending on who leaves, especially defense….we need to draft a replacement……If LVD leaves….a LB…..if Shaq leaves….OLB/DE….if Suh leaves DT….

  2. Bird Says:

    He put up one of the all time great seasons for regular linebacker (not 3-4 outside linebacker / edge rusher). 140 tackles and ton of TFL and 9 sacks and he missed a game with covid

    Go look how that season compares to ray lewis
    Now lewis did have 180 plus tackles one season which is crazy. But lewis did not have sacks close to white’s 9

    Still white is only 22 which is crazy. He will only get better

    And dont forget lavonte 2013 season. Maybe the best season ever
    145 tackles with TFL and 7 sacks and 5 interceptions. Thats filthy.

  3. Mort Says:

    Good thing we used a top 5 pick on him instead of listening to …ahem… those who said they’d walk the plank if Devin White was the pick.

  4. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Remember when

  5. chris L Says:

    oh no taking a linebacker 5th overall! i guess the coaches and GM knew what he was doing!

  6. 813bucboi Says:

    dylan moses out of bama would be a great replacement if we lose LVD….

    GO BUCS!!!!

  7. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Bird right on and some from Joe Bucs on the podcast said this was a terrible pick because of the edge rush component; now the bucs have thir own luke kuechly after domminik passed on kuechjly

  8. Billy-43 Says:

    I like this kid Nick Bolton at 32.
    Also Barrmore from Alabama at DT to replace Suh.

  9. MadMax Says:

    “but #5 is too high of a pick for a LB”….i kept reading it over and over and over…

    …just like “Vita Vea wont be able to handle the heat down here”…..

    Wow, how do these lame brains function when its time to wipe their a$$…unreal!

    Stars in the making baby! And Freiermuth will be another!

  10. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Billy, Bolton is expected to run 4.8 at his proday. The Bucs prefer faster LBS. Bolton looks faster on tape but would have to run 4.5 or better for Bucs to draft him in my opinion.