It seems that everything has been going right for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lately. After falling into a 1-6 slump in the middle of the season, the Bucs are in the midst of a four-game winning streak that has them on the brink of clinching a third-straight NFC South division title.
A lot of guys deserve credit for the turnaround, from Todd Bowles and Dave Canales completely redeeming themselves to Baker Mayfield playing like a guy worthy of being named the next franchise quarterback. One constant throughout the season, though, has been the defense and specific guys who have stepped up in big ways.
Rookies have carried a lot of weight this year, with guys like Christian Izien and SirVocea Dennis shining in certain moments. First round pick Calijah Kancey is living up to the billing, as he appears to be a new wrecking ball threat on the defensive line next to Vita Vea.
As great as the rookies on defense have played, linebacker Yaya Diaby has stolen the show. On Sunday, he turned in another fantastic performance in the win over Jacksonville, finishing third on the team in tackles while officially recording 1.5 sacks and contributing to a fumble recovery that helped set up a touchdown in the third quarter.
It's not the first time that he's shown that sort of high-level talent, and folks are finally starting to notice.
GMFB is hyping up Yaya Diaby as Defensive Rookie of the Year
While breaking down the Rookie of the Year candidates, Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager highlighted Yaya Diaby's season and named him as his favorite to win the award on the defensive side of the ball.
As the weeks go by it's getting harder to argue against Diaby being a legit candidate for DROY. He's tied for first among rookies with 6.5 sacks and is in the Top 2 in tackles for loss this season -- trailing only Calijah Kancey.
Diaby also has 31 tackles, a forced fumble, and has recorded seven hits on quarterbacks, all having started only five games this season. He's been absolutely on fire lately, and it's about time he starts to get the hype he deserves.
It also goes to show just how bright the Bucs future is, which is a growing theme over the course of their late-season turnaround. Baker and the offense might be finding a groove, but Diablo Diaby and the defense looks poised to recapture some classic magic at the exact right time.