The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face a complete overhaul on the defensive side of the football and need the remaining leader of the defense to take charge.
Last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense was chewed up, spit out, and left for dead. Now, starting middle linebacker and Pro Bowler Kwon Alexander has darted for San Francisco, signing with the 49ers in free agency and perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle and face of the defense, Gerald McCoy hears the clock ticking on his time in Tampa Bay.
This leaves only one strong defender to lean upon on the Buccaneers defense: Lavonte David. While David has been an excellent linebacker for many years, his quiet personality has allowed for him to fly under the radar, while McCoy and his charming personality have taken over the front pages. Tampa Bay can no longer feel comfortable with David living in the shadows and need him to be the heart and soul on that side of the football.
The former second round pick of the Buccaneers out of Nebraska in 2012, David has put together a strong seven-year career that has consisted of one Pro Bowl in 2015, and being named as an All-Pro in 2013. One of the better linebackers in the league in pass coverage, David has tallied 10 interceptions in his career, while defending an additional 38 attempts; continuing to prove his status as a ball hawk, David has forced 18 fumbles in his career, recovered 13, and scored three defensive touchdowns.
David is a machine against the run as well, tallying over 100 tackles in six of his seven years in the league, and recording an average of over 15 tackles for loss per year in that span. Getting after the quarterback as well, David has tallied 21.5 sacks from the second level and hit the quarterback 45 times for the Buccaneers.
With the Buccaneers moving to a 3-4 scheme and David moving to the middle of the defense, expect a huge year from number 54. This year more than ever, the Buccaneers need David to rise to the occasion as he now stands as the only shoulder to lean upon as a leader of the Tampa Bay defense.