Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ linebacker Lavonte David was named the best player in the NFL at his position by Bleacher Report.
Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report did a deep dive into the best players the NFL has to offer at each position. For the sake of the argument, Davenport broke down outside linebackers and defensive ends based on both 4-3 and 3-4 alignments. Something we haven’t seen done very well in the past, especially when it comes to things like Pro Bowl and All-Pro voting. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’ve seen one of their own overlooked on multiple occasions despite being an elite level talent.
That is, until now.
Lavonte David was named the best 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL in the column by BR which you can see in full here. David, who is entering his seventh NFL season, has been one of the constant bright spots for the Bucs and their fans over that span, which doesn’t have too many bright spots to get excited about.
David has 547 tackles, eighteen sacks, seventeen forced fumbles, ten interceptions, eleven fumble recoveries, three touchdowns and a safety on his resume from 91 games played. In his six seasons, David has only missed time in two seasons – three games in 2017 and two games in 2014.
Davenport cited this as part of his reasoning to give David the nod at outside linebacker;
"“His numbers have been down the past few seasons, but that’s not a reflection of a drop-off in his play. Quite the opposite. While Kwon Alexander is almost always headed in one direction—straight ahead—David is often tasked with covering backs and tight ends.He does that just as well as he stuffs the run. And rushes the passer.It’s that versatility that makes David so good. No matter what you ask the 28-year-old to do, he’s going to do it at a Pro Bowl level.”"
Those of us that have watched and followed David over the years know what a weapon he his given his versatility. We’ve often asked why we haven’t seen him blitzing more, which he did at such a high level early in his career.
It boils down to David being the Swiss Army knife of the defense. He can cover, he can blitz, he can stop the run – he does it all. When you can do it all, you’re asked to do it all and that’s exactly what David does.
Hopefully this season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ record reflects the kind of player Lavonte David is – one of the best in the league.