The Bucs continued their defensive minded draft in the third round by taking OLB Quincy Black from the University of New Mexico. In a draft that was very shallow at the Linebacker position, Black shot up peoples boards. Black was around the 6th best OLB in the draft. The thing that made Black jump up so high in the draft was his speed and workout mentality. Black is very fast for a Linebacker and he is a work out warrior.
Black will make an immediate impact in the special teams area during kick offs and punt coverage. Black could also be the future replacement for Derrick Brooks. Black has looked real good in the OTA’s and Mini- Camp and has latched on to learn all he can from Brooks. He is young and has some big upside, which is why it is very important for him to watch and learn from Brooks while he is still here.
Black started his football career playing defensive end at a JUCO school. He was playing DE when he came to New Mexico, but was moved to LB after a short while. Black played the LB/S position that was made famous at New Mexico by Brian Urlacher. Black has drawn comparisons to Urlacher due to his athleticism and speed. Black was asked to cover, play run support, and blitz the Quarterback and he seemed to excel in this role. In his senior season Black recorded 114 Tackles (57 Solo), 4 pass break ups, and 3 INT’s. He also made 1st team All MWC.
Some felt the Bucs reached a bit for Black, but I think it was a good pick and a perfect fit for the Tampa 2 defense. Black is a great athlete who excels in coverage situations. He has the speed to make up ground and has the sideline to sideline speed that is needed in this defense. He has great coverage skills and has great hands to go along with those hands. These skills are important in the Tampa 2, which often has LB’s back in coverage in wide outs and tight ends. Black is also great when asked to blitz, which the Tampa 2 loves to do with its linebackers.
Some knocks on Black are that he needs to get stronger and he is not overly physical. Black has a hard time getting off blocks sometimes and he needs to get better at the run. I am not too concerned about the bigger part because the Tampa 2 is designed around fast, athletic, small linebackers. He could need to get a bit bigger for the run stopping, but that may detract from his great coverage skills. I think in time with coaching and learning the game he will figure out the angles and use them to his advantage in the run stopping game. None of the Buccaneers linebackers have been overly big and yet they are asked to do a lot of run stopping and have done so in the past. I don’t think Black will be any different than any of these other guys and his natural physical skills will only help him.
Black may have been a reach for some, but I think the Bucs made the right move getting this guy. Black fits perfectly into the Tampa 2 system and will be a great young Linebacker to groom to take Brooks place whenever he decides to hang up his cleats. Black is a phenomenal athlete and will have one of the best linebackers ever teaching him the position. Right now he will be a great contributor in the Special teams are, but look out for him in future.