MMQB: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker Lavonte David is Playing at an All-Pro Level
By Leo Howell
Nov 3, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) runs with the ball with Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) chasing during the 2nd half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Tampa Bay 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
It’s the time of year when awards and honors are given out because most teams have reached the halfway point of their seasons. So with nine weeks behind us, we can evaluate what players have done so far and adjust our expectations for the final two months of the season.
The Pewter Plank will present you with our midseason awards this week, but some sites around the web have already posted their thoughts. One such site is Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback (which you should bookmark and read every day).
Columnist Greg A. Bedard offered his choices for a number of different awards, and also named All-Pro teams. One Buccaneer made the list:
- OLB: Justin Houston, Chiefs; Lavonte David, Buccaneers. Doing a little mixing and matching here with OLBs of the 3-4 (Houston) and 4-3 (David), but both deserve a spot. Houston is the best stand-up outside linebacker in the game and leads our pressure points among all rushers in total points (33.13) and rate (12.5). Sure, Houston has benefited from a strong supporting cast, but production is production. David doesn’t get much attention with what’s going on with the winless Buccaneers, but the lack of success isn’t his fault. He’s been flying all over the field as a playmaker against the run and pass (five sacks and five passes defensed lead 4-3 outside linebackers).
All Pro selections aren’t like the Pro Bowl. There are no alternates, and there’s only one team for the entire league. That makes it an incredibly prestigious award, and one that Buccaneers fans should be proud of should any of their players earn an All Pro nomination this season.
So for David to be mentioned as an All Pro pick halfway through the season is a huge honor for the second-year second-round pick from Nebraska. He’s been arguably the best player for the Buccaneers this season, and is one of a handful of players who play at a high level that is undeserving of the team’s 0-8 record.
As Bedard mentioned, David is the best among 4-3 linebackers in sacks and passes defensed, yet he is also tied for eighth in the NFL in total tackles. Vontaze Burfict is the only non-middle linebacker ranked above him in that category, and his Bengals have played one more game than the Buccaneers.
Lavonte David is a truly special player that this franchise can build around for years to come. Buccaneer fans can only hope that his supporting cast continues to improve so his talents can be displayed in playoff games rather than just Pro Bowls.