TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are counting on Devin White to help them become relevant again.
The powerful and speedy LSU linebacker was the fifth pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night, joining a porous defense making the transition to a 3-4 scheme after allowing the second-most points in the NFL last season.
Coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht selected the 6-foot, 237-pound White over edge pass rusher Josh Allen and tackle Ed Oliver and plan use him, along with veteran Lavonte David, at inside linebacker in the system being installed by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
“Coach Todd told me getting you will be like getting a new shiny, pretty car and I’m going to use you and I’m going to drive you to the fullest,” White said. “I’m ready for it. I’ve been put in this situation for a reason. I’m ready to show everybody that I’m the guy for the middle of that defense.”
The Bucs are coming off a 5-11 finish that cost former coach Dirk Koetter his job and haven’t made the playoffs since 2007— the second-longest drought in the league.
White was the first linebacker selected Thursday night and the first Tampa Bay has taken in the first round since Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks was the 28th pick in 1995.
Improving the pass rush is a priority, which would have been one reason to opt for Allen, who had 17 sacks at Kentucky last season.
Licht said White, who converted to linebacker after being recruited to LSU as a running back, is an ideal fit for the Bucs, who lost another former LSU…