Book Is Out On Devin White, But He’s Improving

August 12th, 2022

Pass defense improving.

Devin White gets really irked when folks discuss his less-than-stellar pass coverage. Understandable, but you know what? The eye in the sky doesn’t lie.

Joe spoke with an NFL defensive coach about White at the combine last winter. This coach told Joe was pretty good against the pass at LSU. The trick is that he mostly played man-defense.

With the Bucs, White is asked to play mostly zone. And he has yet to master that. But he’s getting there.

Bryan Knowles, typing in the Football Outsiders 2022 Almanac, noted White two years ago was vulnerable against the pass and opponents knew it. This continued last year but White did make headway.

Devin White was among the leagues’ most targeted linebackers with 47. While he still occasionally got turned around out there, he improved his coverage success rate from 41% in 2020 to 55% last season.

White may bristle at those pointing out his pass defense but there is a reason teams target him. (Most) NFL coaches aren’t stupid. They aren’t going after a guy who plays strong pass defense.

For example, in the playoff win over the slimy Saints when White jumped the route on Alvin Kamara, there is a reason why Sean Payton targeted White. Payton may be a lot of things but stupid isn’t one of them.

When White figures out how to defend in zone defense, he will be a world-class linebacker.

18 Responses to “Book Is Out On Devin White, But He’s Improving”

  1. Richard Says:

    World class linebacker? Are you freakin serious Joe? As you said in the lead in for this piece…” the eye in the sky doesn’t lie”!!!!! Yes, he’s a fast athletic player BUT…he constantly overruns plays, has not been able to shed blocks effectively, misses tackles constantly usually because he targets the upper body . All this in addition to his still poor coverage and positioning on pass plays…WATCH THE VIDEOS…the eye in the sky doesn’t lie!

  2. Hodad Says:

    The fact that he was the most targeted LB in the NFL, and came away with the same number of picks as Joe had last year is really troubling. You would think if he was in the same zip code a ball would’ve come his way by accident. You don’t pay your MLB top money if he can’t make a difference in the pass game.

  3. SB~LV Says:

    The Jameis of Bucs defense

  4. Smashsquatch Says:

    White needs more criticism. I get the impression his ego needs to be kept in check. Some players need to hear how good they are to build confidence, others need the opposite.

  5. Bucs&Bolts Says:

    D White is a beast ! He only is getting better going to retire here as a Buc and go down as a HoF go Bucs !!

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    I sometimes wonder why so many folks seem to be so down on Devin White. Bucs have made the playoffs the last 2 years, and on defense, White was one of the biggest reasons why.

    Guess who leads the team in combined tackles those 2 years (and by a wide margin)? Devin White. Solo tackles leader (and by a wide margin)? Devin White. TFLs leader? Devin White. Blitz leaders? Devin White. 2nd in Sacks? Devin White. 2nd in QB Hits? Devin White. 2nd in QB Pressures? Devin White.

    And oh yes, he’s the 2nd most targeted (162 targets), right behind Carlton Davis (175 targets). Given the Bucs’ defensive schemes, it would seem logical that the guy who blitzes the most (of anyone in the NFL) MIGHT get picked on (short passes especially) & give up more catches as a consequence. What I think is most important is to look at a player’s total ‘body of work’. And in Devin’s case, I see him as the center of our defense, and a real ‘keeper’. Well worth the #5 pick back in 2019.

  7. gotbbucs Says:

    I think White is looking more and more like a guy who’s athleticism let him get away with not fully understanding the game for a long time.
    He came into LSU as a runningback, probably the most purely instinctual position on the entire football field. They gave him the ball and he ran to open field. The problem was LSU was absolutely loaded with RB talent at that time so they threw him in there at LB and let him freelance too much.

    Like this article explains and what I think most scouts and front office people knew coming out of college was that Devin White was still learning the position, and that his ceiling was sky high if he developed and everything started clicking for him. He’s still very much a work in progress.

  8. Nutterbuccer Says:

    White is a huge reason why our defense has been so good. He is still young and yes he has struggled in pass defense but the way some of you are talking as if he isn’t good or a liability… must be on drugs because we wouldn’t of won 2 years ago if he wasn’t on this team. He’s a top 5 if not 3 MLB in the NFL and is a huge reason why it’s impossible for teams to run on the outside. He tracks all running backs down like a LION!!!!!

  9. DoooshLaRue Says:

    He just be needing time to get more growner y’all.

  10. NeverGIVEup Says:

    You cant criticize him. Check yo sheet.

    LOL, I love DW. The young man is all heart and he will only get better and better.

    This aint King Kwon. This is, “Another Tampa linebacker blessing, from heave, Devin, not quite groaner, White”.

  11. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I really like DW and he was the right Devin when we selected him over Devin Bush.
    He’s not perfect but he plays with fire and he was a major reason our D was so good late in the 2020 season.

    I do however find it curious that our defense seems to suffer from frequent communication breakdowns and the on field general, DW, struggles with basic language skills.


  12. NeverGIVEup Says:


    I dont think Devin is the one calling plays on D. That is LVD and was Mentior when LVD was hurt.

    I could be wrong though. So many injuries last year, maybe he did IDK

  13. Goatfarmer Says:

    None of Todd’s guys understand their zone assignments, we should Devin be any different? Either Todd can’t teach or his guys aren’t very bright.

  14. OBVIOUS Says:

    Well pointed out Defense… Proof is in the bottom line and Devin White IS certainly getting better and surly he’s a Huge part of our bottom line. I admit his aptitude is sometimes in question but the man Gets It Done!
    And understand that this started with him barley understanding the position in the first place. And still he is putting out that type of production. And when he does master the zone, he will take over games! He’s done that already in the Biggest of shows including play offs and a super bowl. It might be the year that he finally puts it all together and Takes Over on Any Given Sunday “At Will”.

    Also some that are commenting may not be actual Buccaneer fans. Right SB~LV…. You never seem to have anything positive to say. YOU ARE NOT A FAN. And being that you clearly dislike anything Bucs, why don’t you head on over to the team you do support and puke over they instead.

    GO BUCS!

  15. Bucfan Says:

    It is between the Ears!!

  16. Destinjohnny Says:

    He has always gotten away with being a pure athlete
    But to be great you have to tap into the mental /instinctive side of things
    See Jordon, rice, Kobe, bird

  17. Stan says Says:

    I wonder why so many experts chime in that have never even sniff the elite level at which this guy plays. The guy is still learning I will take him over 99% of the guys that play his position.

  18. Tommy Says:

    Was thinking of a new pose / look for my Tinder page…think I found it =)