Lavonte David came in at number 35 in last night's NFL Top 100 show. That was a fair ranking, to me, though others disagreed. Overall, the value of that show isn't really in the ranking, though. It's in the vignettes they produce -- which was outstanding as usual on Lavonte David, with Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson making him sound like the second coming of Derrick Brooks. But Robinson wasn't the only one to make that comparison yesterday.
Hidden in NFL Network's reaction show was Warren Sapp praising the hell out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' top two players. "[Lavonte David] and Gerald McCoy are the Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp of the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cover 2 that they're about to play, and these two will be an intricate part of if this team goes anywhere."
Did you catch that? Warren Sapp, the crotchety old man of Bucs football, the guy who bristles every time someone breaks out the 'new Warren Sapp' for any prospect. That prideful man compared Gerald McCoy to himself, and Lavonte David to one of the best players to ever put on a Tampa Bay uniform.
That's no idle comparison. Gerald McCoy is the premiere three-technique in the NFL, while Lavonte David is the best 4-3 outside linebacker around. And the new defensive scheme is tailor-made to take advantage of their skillsets, in the exact same way it was tailor-made to work with Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp.
That also means the Buccaneers are going to stand or fall with the play of their two star defensive players. If either of them falters for whatever reason, you could see a big dropoff on defense. Because no matter how good your depth is, you can never adequately replace an All-Pro player. Clinton McDonald
The three-technique is the engine that makes the defense go, while the weakside linebacker is put in position to make play, after play, after play. If you think you've seen McCoy and David wreak havoc over the past couple of years, get ready for this season. Because they're about to take it to a whole new level.