Buccaneers: Five Best Second Round Draft Picks in Franchise History
4. Lavonte David
We stay in the recent past for our number four selection.
Despite the selection of Doug Martin in round one of 2012, the Bucs needed help on defense. In 2011, they were at the bottom against the run, allowing 156.1 yards per game and five yards per carry (per NFL.com). Basically, they couldn’t stop a nosebleed. Nobody was that close to 100 tackles, the closest being Sean Jones with 92. This just in, you don’t want a safety to lead the team in tackles. It’s not hard to understand the team’s 4-12 record that year.
With the 58th pick overall, the Bucs selected linebacker Lavonte David out of Nebraska, and he stepped right in to help correct the problems of the recent past. All he did in year one was lead the team in tackles with 139 tackles, post two sacks, one interception and five passes defended. That year he had three performance of 14 tackles or more, showing the NFL that he was a player to be reckoned with.
By the way, in 2012, the Bucs jumped all the way to first in rushing defense, allowing 82.5 yards per game and a 3.5 yards per carry average (per NFL.com). David followed that up with some of his best football in 2013. That year, he earned First-Team All-Pro honors, as he posted 145 tackles, seven sacks, five interceptions, nine passes defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. On opening weekend, David sacked Geno Smith twice and picked him off once in a dominating performance that ended in a loss.
Over the next two seasons, David went over 100 tackles both years and earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2015. In 2016 he fell below 100 tackles, but was certainly no slouch with 87 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception.
If David keeps this up he will fly up the list.