Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' new defense excites Kwon Alexander

TAMPA — Details about the nature of the Bucs defense under new coordinator Mike Smith are still largely under wraps, but LBs Kwon Alexander and Daryl Smith said they're excited about the scheme they're learning this spring.

"Very different," Alexander said of the new defense and what he learned last year as a rookie under coach Lovie Smith. "But I love it though. I feel like everybody's going to be out there flying around. I can't wait to get back on the field. … It's going to be aggressive. You guys should see it for yourself. It's going to be fun. Y'all are going to enjoy it."

Alexander, who missed the final four games of his rookie season due to a suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, said he has been busy in the offseason, trying to make sure he's as ready as possible for his second NFL season.

"I've been working on everything. I don't think my game is where it needs to be right now," Alexander said. "I can be way better in every aspect. I've been working on coverage, hands, drops, everything, catching. Everything."

Daryl Smith, 34, topped 120 tackles in each of his last three seasons with the Ravens. He played four seasons in Jacksonville with Mike Smith before Mike left to become the Falcons head coach in 2008, but he sees a lot of that old Jaguars defense in what he's learning now.

"I'm familiar with the defense, and excited to get back," Daryl Smith said. "I see some things that I'm definitely familiar with, but I already see some new things that he's added. It'll have a lot more stuff as we go along."

He is excited about the two young linebackers he'll play alongside in Alexander and Lavonte David.

"They're both young," he said. "Lavonte's been around a few years, All-Pro, knows what he's doing. Kwon is young, but knowledgeable about the game and so eager to learn. Already they're asking so many questions. It's a defense they'll thrive in."

LOCALS ONLY: The Bucs will have their local predraft workout today, and at least 20 draft prospects have been confirmed, including seven from USF: QB Steven Bench, OL Thor Jozwiak, OL Brynjar Gudmundsson, TE Sean Price, DE Eric Lee, S Jamie Byrd and P Mattias Ciabatti. Former area high school stars expected to attend include former Plant QB Phillip Ely (Alabama/Toledo), Jefferson LB Tyriq McCord (Miami), Spoto WR Geronimo Allison (Illinois) and Jefferson WR Chris Moore (Cincinnati).

THIS AND THAT: Bucs GM Jason Licht said it was "bold" of former Tampa Bay director of player personnel Jon Robinson, now Titans GM, to deal away the No. 1 overall pick to the Rams. Tennessee got two first-rounders, two seconds and two thirds while giving up two lower-round picks. Licht said both teams could come out winners if the Rams find the right player for that top pick. … Licht said 90 percent of draft busts are due to "something above the neck," with problems ranging from work ethic, lack of passion to being a bad teammate.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690.

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