New Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles met with the media on Wednesday and covered several subjects, as the team progresses through offseason work. However, the one that had the most interest was the decision making process around drafting LSU linebacker Devin White with the 5th overall pick last Thursday night.
Bowles wasted no time in explaining why White became a favorite in their “War Room” and an obvious choice, when the Buccaneers were on the clock in round one. Bowles said White made the decision easy when they evaluated and interviewed him:
“It was impressive. Obviously, he’s a bright kid, lights up a room when he walks in. The film speaks for itself and to have a player like that, we’re just happy to get him in and to get to work.”
And, on White assuming a leadership role by essentially “quarterbacking the defense,” the former Jets head coach of the last four years, Bowles added,
“It’s important, because you really want a quarterback at every level of the defense: up front, in the middle and in the back. And have one in the middle. Not that Lavonte (David) wasn’t, because he is and he’s a heck of a player. So, we got to him in the middle right now, and that makes me comfortable.”
The Bucs took White with a first-round pick, which is the first time they’ve taken a linebacker in the opening round since Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks was selected near the end of the first round in the 1995 draft.
Now, no one is ready to put White in that category, when he hasn’t even set foot on NFL regular season football field, but still, there is obviously a high anticipation to have him next to the perennial Pro Bowler David.
In addition to talking about White, Bowles also spoke at length about the depth now in the secondary after Tampa Bay used three of their draft picks in the second and the third rounds on Friday night on defensive backs.
This includes having last year’s second-round picks M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis with a year under their belt. And, also the Bucs have former number one pick from 2016, Vernon Hargreaves, coming off of injured reserve trying to re-establish himself, as a key contributor in the secondary, too.
Finally, Bowles was asked about Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy not being part of the voluntary offseason program so far and he answered quickly and bluntly, Wednesday:
“That one is above my pay grade.”
That further implies that Tampa Bay appears headed for a “pay cut showdown” with the nine year veteran Pro Bowler.
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