Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NFL draft: Assessing Bucs at linebacker

Breaking down the Bucs

Who's back: Lavonte David, Adam Hayward, Mason Foster, Jacob Cutrera, Najee Goode, Dekoda Watson. David, the team's second-round pick last year, was a wonderful pickup. He led the team in tackles. Foster continued to play middle linebacker, finishing second in stops. Cutrera, Hayward, Goode and Watson combine to make linebacker one of the more competitive units on the roster. They'll be among the candidates competing for the vacant starting job on the strong side.

Who they picked up: Jonathan Casillas. A free agent from the Saints, Casillas' experience has been mostly on special teams. But the Bucs see him as someone who can contend for the strong-side job. Entering his fourth season, Casillas posted 94 tackles in his previous three seasons with the Saints.

Who left: Quincy Black was having his most productive season when he sustained a career-threatening neck injury against the Chargers last year. Black was injured while tackling San Diego running back Ryan Mathews. It's unclear whether Black will play again. He was released last month with an injury settlement from the Bucs.

Top five in the draft

Arthur Brown, 6-0, 241, Kansas State — An inside linebacker and transfer from Miami, he is dependable in coverage and strong at the point of attack in traffic, too.

Jarvis Jones, 6-2, 245, Georgia — He can play inside or outside. He is considered a good tackler. He started one year for the Bulldogs.

Manti Te'o, 6-1, 241, Notre Dame — He was an All-American who was productive playing against top-notch competition for last season's national runnerup

Alex Ogletree, 6-2, 242, Georgia — A DUI arrest in February is a factor. The junior had 111 tackles and 11.5 for losses in 2012.

Kevin Minter, 6-0, 246, LSU — The playmaking inside linebacker had 130 tackles and 15 for losses for the Tigers in 2012.

Stephen F. Holder, Times staff writer

Overall draft assessment

Linebacker is a position where the Bucs have invested numerous draft picks in recent seasons. The selections of Lavonte David (2012) and Mason Foster (2011) have paid off, and enough players are in the fold to fill the remaining roster spots. If the Bucs use a draft pick at this position this year, it likely would be a late-round pick, unless they see an ideal fit at middle linebacker, where Foster is not the perfect fit.

NFL draft: Assessing Bucs at linebacker 04/22/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 22, 2013 10:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …