The second Buccaneers’ player to appear on the NFL’s Top 100 list on NFL Network was linebackerLavonte David
, coming in at number 53.
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Consistently one of the most underrated players in the league, Lavonte David was voted as the 53rd best player in the NFL. For a player with more tackles in his first four years in the league than that of Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, 53rd seems a bit low. Lavonte was happy just to be named to the list at all,
"“I dropped twenty, twenty one spots from my second year, but it’s all good. It’s all good.”"
Fellow pro bowler and top 100 member Gerald McCoy had plenty of nice things to say about his teammate and the work he puts in,
"“Flash? I call him the Flash for a reason. He’ll be on one side of the field, then he’ll be on the completely other side of the field out of nowhere. He makes some of the most incredible plays you’ll see out of a linebacker. First day I seen him on the field, that’s how he developed the name The Flash. Think it’s gonna stick with him for a long time.”"
Thus far in his career, David has 577 combined tackles, 62 more than Brooks had at this stage in his career. Playing the same position as the Bucs’ legend and the fans’ all-time favorite player is going to garner some comparisons. All of which Lavonte is living up to thus far.
Other NFL players weighed in on Lavonte’s prowess and playmaking ability. Mike Tolbert of the Panthers talked about him,
"“He is a very, very talented football player. I mean, he’s all over the field. Comes downhill and he’ll hit you in the mouth. He is always around the football.”"
Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars tight end,
"“Being able to make so many plays and be a versatile linebacker, that’s huge for his team. Anybody who can come up and make plays in the run game, can drop back into coverage. His resumé speaks for itself. Got a lot of respect for his game.”"
Teammate Jacquies Smith talked about his favorite Lavonte play of 2015;
"“A play that was so big, honestly, for me, was his pick against Philadelphia. He just came so fast and snatched the ball out of the air. It was a big time play. He was like, a whiff of the wind or something. He actually got two picks that game which shows you how instinctive and fast he is.”"
Lavonte David may finally be getting the recognition he deserves, but to Buccaneers fans that have watched him since day one, we know that it’s not enough. Not yet, anyway. Lavonte will continue to be a force for this defense, and under Mike Smith he may become an even greater threat to opposing offenses.
What do you think, Bucs fans? Was Lavonte ranked in the right spot? Too low? Too high? Sound off in the comments below.