Jan 25, 2013, Ko Olina, HI, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) carries Buccaneers running back Doug Martin on his back at NFC media day for the 2013 Pro Bowl at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL’s Pro Bowl will take place yet again early next year, and while this season will feature no conference affiliations and will instead have teams chosen by captains, you can still make sure the right Buccaneers make it to Hawaii for the festivities.
So which Buccaneers deserve to be on your ballot this year? Let’s take a look.
Dec 1, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) intercepts a pass in the third quarter. The Carolina Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-6 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
If you couldn’t tell by now, Lavonte David is among the best players in the NFL. Not just at his position, not just among second-year players. Lavonte’s ability to rush the passer, stop the run, and cover receivers makes him the best all-around linebacker in the league, and one of the most valuable defensive players a team could have.
Just how good has he been? He joins Brian Urlacher, Rodney Harrison and Wilber Marshall as the only players to post 80 tackles, five interceptions and five sacks in a single season. And apart from Von Miller, who is a dominant pass rusher from the linebacker position and quickly racks up a positive grade that way, David is the highest-rated 4-3 OLB according to Pro Football Focus, while ranking first in pass rush productivity and run stop percentage.
If you vote for no other Buccaneer, make sure you vote for Lavonte. He’s truly becoming a superstar and deserves the recognition of the Pro Bowl.
For McCoy, the numbers don’t exactly speak for themselves. A defensive tackle has a hard time totaling up a stat line impressive enough to earn votes in a Pro Bowl situation. He ranks fourth among defensive tackles with seven sacks, and has tallied 38 total tackles.
But it’s the impact he has on the opponent’s quarterback which stands out the most, and has earned him the highest grade among defensive tackles and nose tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. McCoy is so disruptive to an opposing offense with the way he gets up the field towards the quarterback, and his main limitations this season have been his coaches calling plays which take him out of the game.
For all the talk about zone coverage and how healthy his knee is, Darrelle Revis has turned in an incredible year so far. He hasn’t racked up a ton of interceptions or passes defended, but what he’s done is be Revis Island and shut down receivers on a weekly basis.
According to PFF, no corner is targeted less frequently than Darrelle Revis, who sees a throw his way every 9.3 snaps he’s in coverage. But even when quarterbacks do throw his way, his QB Rating against this season is third-best in the NFL, behind only Brent Grimes and Alterraun Verner.
Revis is still Revis, regardless of how healthy he is or how he’s used. He has changed the Tampa Bay defense for the better, and he’s still the best corner in the NFL.
Dotson is the highest-graded right tackle on Pro Football Focus, and has been controlling the point of attack all season. He has basketball player agility with offensive guard strength, and he’s been nearly flawless this season.