You could say things are looking up for Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker, Lavonte David. Long thought of as one of the more underrated players on this squad, David has taken center stage this season with the departure of guys like Gerald McCoy and Kwon Alexander.
He and free-agent acquisition Shaquil Barrett have helped the Bucs defense usher in a new era of front-seven aggressiveness fans of the team have been hoping to see for years now. The return of veteran Jason Pierre-Paul has only increased the excitement surrounding the group, while Devin White represents an exciting look into the future of what the Buccaneers defense could become.
While he’s already a leader in the locker room - evidenced by the large ‘C’ he wears on his jersey - he’s also a leader on the field. His 70 tackles not only lead the team, second place tackler Jordan Whitehead is a full 25 tackles behind the inside linebacker.
Speaking of inside linebackers, his first season moving inside for Todd Bowles has given David more opportunities to make plays all over the field, and he’s done so in some crucial moments this season. The one which will stick out most for those watching David this season, happened most recently, as he ripped the ball out of the arms of Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson inside the Buccaneers 10-yard line.
The play kept Arizona from taking a late third-quarter lead, allowed the Bucs offense a chance to make up for giving up the ball deep in their own territory in the first place, and helped earn David the title of Bucs Nation Community Player of the Week as the inaugural winner of the fan voted honor.
While he’s playing well enough to earn his second Pro Bowl selection, David is also being recognized for yet another honor, as he was announced as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ nominee for the 2019 Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
Being nominated is a hat tip to David as being one of the players in the NFL who plays at a high level every week, while playing the game with integrity. Evidenced by his more than 2,300 snaps this season without being flagged for a single penalty.
Unfortunately, his status as one of the better linebackers in the league has not been achieved due in part to the team’s struggles in the win-loss columns. With Pro Bowl voting currently open, fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star can cast their vote in trying to reverse this trend. Meanwhile, David will continue being the steadfast leader this defense needs.