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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs looking strongly at defense early in NFL Draft?

Florida Football Insiders



Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers obviously have needs headed into the 2019 NFL draft. And it seems that the Bucs’ current focus is on two positions in particular, at least with their fifth overall pick.

A name that Buccaneer fans may or may not know from his SEC days, but need to keep on their radar is: Kentucky defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen.

Allen helped the Wildcats have a breakout year that included their upset of the Florida Gators in Gainesville. Allen finished the year with a school-record 17 sacks, while winning the Chuck Bednarik award for top linebacker and being named an AP All-American.

And new Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was front-and-center personally at Allen’s pro day workout in Lexington, KY, last Friday.

Now, this can simply be viewed as diligence on the part of Bowles and the Buccaneers personnel/scouting staff, but it’s no secret the Buccaneers need pass-rushers. And, that is Allen’s specialty off “the edge.”

Next, in his most recent mock draft,  Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, has the Buccaneers going linebacker at the top of round one is well. However, he likes Tampa Bay taking another LSU defensive product in Devin White. White is a tackling machine who ran a 4.42 at the NFL Combine in February, and the Tigers always seem to have multiple players being drafted early every year.

It would be an interesting selection if the Bucs were to take White, because they have previously taken the likes of linebacker Kendell Beckwith in 2017. He is now injured and missed all of last season with a broken ankle and his return is unkonwn. And they had previously taken Kwon Alexander out of LSU, who developed into a Pro Bowl linebacker in his third season (2017) before tearing his ACL in October last year.

Tampa Bay lost Alexander to the 49ers in free agency and must improve their quality of depth at that position. And, it’s uncertain at this point if Beckwith can return from the ankle injury/surgery at all.

Just like with all the other NFL franchise, there’s lots more diligence to do with individual interviews with players, studying of film and then getting ready to pull the trigger on which player to take.

It also would not be a surprise, if the Buccaneers choose to move down, which they have frequently done in the first round under GM Jason Licht.

Still, Allen and White are both out of the talent-rich SEC and would seem to make sense to help the Buccaneers bolster their defense

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