The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their second player on NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2015. Linebacker Lavonte David came in at number 53 on last night's episode, after Gerald McCoy was ranked ten spots lower last week.
NFL Network got a few players to talk about David's strengths. McCoy called him "The Flash" because of his sideline-to-sideline speed. Panthers running back Mike Tolbert, Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas and Bucs defensive end Jacquies Smith showed up to praise David as well, though we didn't quite get any eye-popping quotes.
David's appearance on this list wasn't a sure thing: he had a genuinely poor start to the season, supposedly because he was looking out for rookie Kwon Alexander's mistakes as well doing his own job. That was a mistake, but he corrected it after about six games and had a very good final ten games. With three interceptions, two forced fumbles and three sacks he put up plenty of splash plays, though he wasn't quite as productive as a tackler as he was in previous years.
It'll be interesting to see where David goes from here. He excelled as a playmaking linebacker under Greg Schiano, but had no real problem adjusting to Lovie Smith's defense where he was asked to play a little more passively. If Mike Smith can find a good balance between those two styles, David should rank a little higher on the top 100 next year.