Devin White Ranks Top-10 In His Draft Class

June 13th, 2022

NFL types and former NFL types cringe or holler when folks grade draft classes before Mr. Irrelevant is selected. But that’s just our society. Suck it up. You make good money. Relax.

But the NFL types have good reason to get irked by early grades of a draft class. They don’t want a draft evaluated for at least three years.

Bucky Brooks of agrees. Brooks decided to go through the 2019 draft to see who is the best. Brooks has Bucs inside linebacker Devin White at No. 8.

The tackling machine has been the centerpiece of a Buccaneers defense that has overwhelmed opponents with an array of blitzes. White’s sideline-to-sideline range and his big-hit mentality have helped Todd Bowles create a unit that leads to sleepless nights for offensive coordinators and quarterbacks around the league. With White averaging 120 tackles per season while also flashing A+ skills as a second-level sack specialist, the Bucs have built a scheme around a unicorn in the middle of their defense.

The only downside to White’s defense is his pass defense. This is a sensitive subject for White but it doesn’t matter. If White has a crack in his ship’s hull, it is his pass coverage.

So how much does White need to improve? Well, from what Joe sees White as good on man coverage, but he could use work in zone coverage. Per Pro Football Reference, White allows 82.1 percent of passes completed when his man is targeted. On face value that is really ugly.

But is it?

It seems many NFL analysts believe Eric Kendricks of Minnesota is arguably one of the game’s best coverage linebackers. Yet he allows 74.1 percent of the passes targeting his man to be completed. Perhaps linebackers are not supposed to be so good in pass coverage? Or at least inside linebackers?

After learning of Kendricks’ numbers, a man thought to be a strong pass defender, it got Joe wondering: Is White really that awful in pass coverage?

24 Responses to “Devin White Ranks Top-10 In His Draft Class”

  1. 1#bucsfan Says:

    He’s still working his craft. Glad we drafted him. He deff whiffed on several sacks last year sometimes it’s his speed that gets him im trouble when rushing the passer but if he improves in the passing game I believe he’s a future hall of famer

  2. Goatfarmer Says:


  3. Beeej Says:

    How important IS it for a middle linebacker to be a pass defender?

  4. Dooley Says:

    White learns to throttle the over aggressive tendencies he has as a downhill LB and works on trusting his eyes and exercising a higher level of discernment, he’ll be just fine as far as improving in coverage goes. Also, completion percentage is a skewed barometer because if the RB/TE is making a catch, getting stopped where they stand and it counts as a completion but could be a minimal gain. So yea the catches get completed, but they’re not doing much with it. It’s like anytime teams throw a flare out to Jamel Deans side, it counts as a completion which will inflate the %, but more often then not Dean stops those plays at the LOS.

  5. SB~LV Says:

    Imagine if he was truly dedicated , mentally

  6. VabucSINCE’97 Says:

    Agree with @goatfarmer🤷🏾‍♂️ He’s reached his ceiling already. Been saying he’s just a stronger Kwon Alexander both are really hype men half ass tacklers and very bad in pass coverage

  7. J Ghotier Says:

    I thought for sure one of the 1st few comments on here would be something to the effect of….

    “Do you know who isn’t in the Top 10 of Draft Class?! Josh Allen….” 😂

    Although, this is a decent example of why you one should go BPA > Position they say….even though we know typically the truth falls somewhere in between that

  8. Razor Ramone Says:

    Missed a ton of tackles last year. Less talk, more production.

  9. Marine Buc Says:

    I believe D. White is going to have a break out season. Especially if he can stay healthy. Injuries can really hamper any player’s abilities.

    Look at Scoot Miller last year… He went from hero to zero because of that nasty foot injury…

  10. #99 Says:

    he will prove this year that he is a great..
    He will prove the guys who say he is overrated wrong! Mark it down!

  11. Gman Says:

    Remember when Devin Bush for Steelers had 2 or 3 standout games his rookie year and some were saying we got the wrong Devin. He was a top 10 pick and supposed to be the next Ryan Shazier etc. Well Pitt didn’t even pickup his 5th year option last year and I’m hearing he may be on roster bubble this year.
    Moral of story….let it play out.

    Go Bucs!!

  12. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    “White’s sideline-to-sideline range and his big-hit mentality…”

    His sideline-to-sideline range is elite. I wouldn’t call his typical tackling instincts as big-hit. I understand that it is a product of the modern rule book, and how he was probably taught, but when I watch some of his tackles, it reminds me of Reggie White just jumping on a ball-carrier’s upper body in a bear hug and using his body weight to flop him down. I don’t often see him getting his head across the body and driving through. I don’t often see him going into the running lane with his pad level lower than the running back’s.

    I see David do these things. It makes me sad that Lavonte has been so overlooked because of the team’s that he’s been on. A healthy David is still our best linebacker, in my opinion. Yet White gets all of the attention. David should have been getting that all these years, also.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    And…..left out is…..he’s a “savior”…..

  14. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    “Perhaps linebackers are not supposed to be so good in pass coverage? Or at least inside linebackers?”

    I would say our our 3-4 inside linebackers should be good in coverage. Who is more built to cover receivers: White and David, or JPP and Shaq? 3-4 outside linebackers are typically operating in the pass rush.

    In a 4-3? Your middle linebacker is a run stuffer. Your outside linebackers are usually smaller, faster, built to stretch plays and cover the flats. Your defensive ends are doing the job that “outside linebackers” in a 3-4 are usually doing. What did Mr Derrick Brooks do on passing downs? He didn’t rush the passer. He replaced the thumper in the middle and dropped into the middle 3rd. I would compare White and David to Brooks if I want a pass coverage comparison, not JPP and Shaq (I know they occasionally have this responsibility, but it is not a rule).

    It’s so messed up how we have to differentiate between 3-4 outside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers. The football people should really standardize these position names to keep them closer to what they typically do.

    Beeej Says:
    “How important IS it for a middle linebacker to be a pass defender?

    LOL. It depends. See above.
    Now Defense Rules will probably have to correct me on something, but that’s how I see it.

  15. captivajim Says:

    White cost us the 1st game against slimys last yr … he needs to shut his mouth and quit with the dam stupid penalities

  16. Bucsfanman Says:

    IMO, a LOT of defensive players had to play beyond their positions due to injuries. When he and the defense was “healthy” the previous year, he was more impactful.
    The whole team needs to improve its tackling for starters.

  17. SlyPirate Says:

    White was really good two seasons ago. Last year, White did very little. He didn’t cause a single turnover and he got blocked out of a lot of critical run plays. White needs to show up this year … and he knows it.

  18. sasquatch Says:

    Better to have a guy catch the ball in front of you and get him down right away than to let them get behind you and have to chase.

  19. Buczilla Says:

    I usually don’t agree with Bucky, but that is a fair grade. Devin is still a very young player and if everything ever clicks with him, he’s going to surpass Nickerson as our best inside linebacker ever.

  20. teacherman777 Says:

    Dime Package.

    Take LVD and Devin White off the the field.

    Run Neal at MLB and play 5 DBs.

    In some passing situations, I’d like to see Devin White off the field.


    But it’s just the reality.

  21. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    SlyPirate Says:
    “White… got blocked out of a lot of critical run plays.”

    This goes back to my point about his pad level. In HS and college, I’m sure he was used to being the fastest guy on the field, and just beating blockers to the ball carrier 99% of the time. In the NFL, a lot of OL can move, too. If a guy who out-weighs you by 60+ lbs gets into your body, your only play is leverage. If you can’t get under fat boy’s shoulder pads and use that leverage, you’re gonna get blocked into the water cooler, so to speak.

    I’d love to see White play more under control on the blitz, but mostly I’d like to see him work on that pad level. He could be one of the best ever, but IMO, he needs to accept that his speed now is less of an advantage, and work on good technique.

  22. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    Buczilla Says:
    “… if everything ever clicks with him, he’s going to surpass Nickerson as our best inside linebacker ever.”

    Love Nickerson!

  23. Duane Says:

    All signs point to 45 having a better year. His secondary is stocked and currently healthy, and the D Line has some reinforcements. Looking for Bowles to tinker with 45’s ruleset this season. Teams could have been scheming to have him run away from the play in pass coverage. White is a much better and instinctive player when he is facing the line of scrimmage. Could be a mental and/or a scheme issue. Not super concerned, but I think all of us are watching and expecting better this season.

  24. Brandon Says:

    Wow. A bunch of stupid comments. “He’s overrated.” “Play Keanu Neal.” “Can’t tackle.”

    I’ll be the first to admit, he played awful in a stretch last season when he was hurt. He was an absolute liability in the running game. Allowing himself to be blocked and pushed way back, not filling when he should have, not tackling as well as he can, not diagnosing and making splash plays. But other than that, he was as good a run defender as there was in the game. He just wasn’t healthy enough to play. As for pass defense… it takes a little while, especially in zone, to get a feel for route combinations, formation tendencies, overall responsibilities, as well as not relying solely on physical traits. He has to improve. He’s okay as a blitzer, not great as his 9 sacks in 2020 might indicate. About half of those sacks came on broken plays where came up out of coverage and sacked a scrambling QB…. that being said… overall, he’s excellent and anyone that thinks he’s overrated or misses too many tackles or can’t defend the run, doesn’t actually know football.