The Perfect Pick
With the fifth pick in the 2019 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select, Devin White. The pick wasn’t a very shocking one, as many mock drafts had him landing in Tampa. Not only was White high on some draft boards, but some had him as their best player in the draft. And it seemed like no one had a bad thing to say about the 21-year-old. Maybe even go as far to say, he will change the culture on defense.
However, some fans weren’t very pleased with the selection. The Bucs had a bunch of needs for the defense and to pass up the top pass rusher in the draft for an off-ball linebacker seemed insane. The Bucs had a long drought of not having a player with ten sacks up until Jason Pierre-Paul achieved that number this season. But JPP is not getting younger and it was expected they could potentially choose his successor as early as pick number five. The sack number is arguably the most important statistic on the defensive side of the ball. But is linebacker a forgotten position?
After the Buccaneers parted ways with the former LSU Tiger, Kwon Alexander, he signed a four-year $54 million contract with $27 million in guarantees with the San Fransisco 49ers during the 2019 NFL Free-Agency . Pretty big deal that no one was really expecting especially coming off a season-ending knee injury. His new replacement also went to LSU. Throughout the draft process, Devin White was predicted to fall into the Buccaneers’ lap. Whether you like it or not, that was the perfect pick. Tampa Bay is in a division with Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Devonta Freeman, some of the best-receiving backs in the league. They have been a terror on the team for a long time now. General manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians said ‘enough is enough’.
Last season, the Atlanta Falcons dealt with numerous injuries on their roster. One being a key piece, linebacker Deion Jones (also a former LSU Tiger). The linebacker suffered a foot injury in the season opener. In their next game, they had to go up against one of the running backs listed above, Christian McCaffrey. The Carolina Panthers took full advantage of that and CMC popped off for 14 receptions and 102 receiving yards. That would be his season high in catches. His second highest being 12, against none other than Tampa Bay. Does that correlate with the defense’s inside linebacker? Well, CMC’s lowest yards per reception was against the Baltimore Ravens (4 catches for 11 yards) and they had a pretty good linebacker in CJ Mosley. Baltimore also runs a 3-4 defense.
Yes, pass rush is very important. But why not lock down these running backs? The quarterbacks check down. Lock that player down and maybe that leads to more sacks. Coverage is a lost art nowadays and it is easy to forget, especially in Tampa over the last few years, coverage sacks exist.
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