Buccaneers Most Valuable Player: Linebacker, Lavonte David
It doesn’t matter that he missed some games. It doesn’t matter that the Buccaneers’ defense ranked dead last in the NFL in third down stops. When all was said and done and the disappointment that was the 2017 season was over, Lavonte David reigned supreme as far and away the best player on this team.
Every time the Bucs had a big defensive play, David was in the mix. If there was a forced fumble, it seemed David was either causing it or recovering it. Lavonte David played at an All-Pro level and that’s not even debatable.
The fact that he was yet again snubbed for the Pro Bowl is not only a joke within the Pro Bowl selection system, but it also displayed a major flaw in fan voting. If you aren’t one of the teams that is nationally broadcast week after week after week, no one knows who you are or how well you’ve played. In fact, most NFL fans probably don’t even know who Lavonte David is, but if you stacked his stats up against any other 4-3 outside linebacker in a blind test, David would easily emerge as one of the top three.
We’ve never seen David play at a level quite like the one he did in 2017. Hopefully, it will continue into 2018 as the Bucs will undoubtedly need him to play at that level if the defense is going to take a step – or seven – in the right direction. It would have been easy to pick Jameis Winston – comparing healthy Winston versus injured Winston is a night and day argument that can be made – but I believe most Bucs fans would agree that David was the standout player and MVP of the squad in 2017.