Buccaneers rookie linebacker Lavonte David was awarded two votes in the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting. The award was won by Luke Kuechly. David finished his rookie season with 112 solo tackles and 27 assisted stops. He also totaled 19 tackles for a total loss of 44 yards, and had 2 sacks and 1 interception. Kuechly had fewer solo tackles and fewer tackles for loss, but had more assisted tackles, and was perceived to have more drastically improved his team’s defense.
David was an impact player right out of the gate for the Buccaneers, tallying 9 tackles for loss in his first 6 games. He was a key force in the Buccaneers defense that ranked first against the run, and made an instant impression on Buccaneers fans, who liken him to a young Derrick Brooks. While he has a way to go to equal Mr. Brooks, Lavonte has begun his career in impressive fashion. The 58th overall selection of the 2012 NFL Draft proved to be one of the 10 best rookies in the NFL this past season, and he will almost certainly continue to be a key player on the Buccaneer defense for years to come. I think he deserved a bit more respect from voters, and should have finished higher in the final voting.
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