Last night was the debut of the new look Buccaneers and one of the guys Greg Schiano and company are hoping will be an impact is second round draft pick Lavonte David.
In his first NFL game, David was making tackles, looked aware and even grabbed an interception — hardly the production of most rookies in their first game.
His interception came off of starter Matt Moore and came after defensive tackle Frank Okam tipped the ball. All David had to do was display his sideline-to-sideline quickness he showed at Nebraska and get to the ball.
And get to the ball he did.
“I want to thank the D-line for the tip,” David said. “The ball was in the air for a long time. It was right there, and I just had to get to it.”
It wasn’t just his production, it was how comfortable David looked in the defense. He fit right in without any pains and started going to work. Given the Buccaneers defensive woes from last season, it’s comforting to know that David, a guy they traded up to get in this past April’s draft, isn’t wide eyed in the secondary.
“It was definitely faster,” David said of his first NFL game. “But I kind of got used to it. As the game went on, I just adjusted.”
Adjusted. That’s exactly what the Buccaneers and everyone watching wanted to hear. It’s rare that a rookie adjusts so easily and so quickly in his NFL career. Granted this was just one preseason game and it’s hardly something to pin a career on, but the Bucs need some serious help at linebacker and the fact that this whole David thing is going this smoothly is great.
“He’s done a real good job since he started,” coach Greg Schiano said. “And I think he continued to do it [Friday]. … He flew around out there, and he looked comfortable. I was happy for him to do it in his hometown, too.”
If David can keep up this playmaking ability, the Bucs may be in for a markedly improved season at linebacker.