A Bold Prediction: Lavonte David
As one of the best players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there are high expectations for linebacker Lavonte David.
It’s no secret among Buccaneers fans who Lavonte David is. The guy is a crazy talent, who plays all over the field. He puts up All Pro numbers, every single season. Even last year, which was considered his worst by many fans, David finally got to go to his first Pro Bowl and was ranked 3rd in tackles which was only seven behind Navarro Bowman who was number 1.
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Let’s face it…it’s a crime that David doesn’t get the national recognition he deserves. In the modern NFL, where when people think of outside linebackers they think guys like Von Miller, Justin Houston, or Khalil Mack with their gaudy sack numbers, David gets overlooked for being a 4-3 linebacker. He isn’t a pass rush specialist like those guys and it really hurts his fame.
While in Lovie’s Tampa Two defense, we didn’t get to see anywhere near as many big plays by David like we’re used too. With all those great plays, and these great numbers many fans were all asking, “What’s wrong with Lavonte David?” or “Is he going to be lazy now that he’s gotten a new contract?”. We were used to David in Greg Schiano’s blitz happy scheme, where in 2013 David produced 7 sacks and 5 interceptions to go with his 145 tackles.
Expect to see it again though, now that Mike Smith is here. Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David have both spoken about how much more aggressive this defensive philosophy and scheme is. They’ve spoken about how they’ll be blitzing the Quarterback more and this is great news for us fans, because I think we’ll get to see David making all those splash plays again, to go along with his great coverage skill.
David led all linebackers with 13 passes defended, last season, with Luke Kuechly coming in second with 10. Actually, David led the entire team is Tackles, Interceptions and Passes Defended. He was the only player in the NFL to lead his team in all those categories, some of that speaks on how atrocious our secondary was last season but in my opinion it should speak more on how great of a talent David is. Lavonte’s career thus far for the Bucs has been nothing short of stellar, racking up 577 tackles, 9 interceptions, 68 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks and 32 passes defended. To put some of those numbers in perspective, Derrick Brooks had 13.5 sacks his entire career, and David is second in tackles for a loss (since being drafted) in the entire NFL, behind only JJ Watt(119).
We should all be excited to see the Buccaneers switching schemes back into something more aggressive if not for any other reason but to see David making those crazy plays all over the field again and in my opinion, this is the year the national media finally gives Lavonte the respect he deserves for his game. If the past is any indication, David will deliver like he has year in and year out since being drafted in 2012 only he should benefit because there’s more talent around him now and hopefully a defensive coordinator that actually knows what they’re doing with a superstar talent.
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So Bucs Nation, call me crazy..Say whatever you want. But my biggest and boldest prediction this off-season? Lavonte David. 2016 Defensive Player of the Year.