Lavonte David No. 20June 26th, 2013
Yes, Joe likes to boast a little bit that he began begging Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik to draft Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David back in December 2011, as a fourth-round, perhaps a third-round pick.
Dominik drafted David in the late second round, but the way David played as a rookie, he could have been the first overall pick and the Bucs still would have looked smart.
David was simply outstanding last year. He even drew comparisons to another speedy, undersized linebacker some Bucs fans may remember — a guy by the name of Derrick Brooks.
A certain NFC South blogger mocked those who compared David to Brooks. After watching him perform as a rookie, Pat Yasinskas admits he’s been won over by the No. 20 player in the NFC South, David.
What he did in 2012: As a rookie, he was in on 139 tackles with two sacks and an interception while starting 16 games.
Why he’s No. 20 in 2013: It didn’t take David long to emerge as a defensive leader last year and I expect him to be even better in his second season. I chuckled when some people compared David to Derrick Brooks prior to last season. I’m not laughing now. It still may be a little premature to put David in the same class as a guy who will be heading for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But there are a lot of similarities between the two. The next step for David is to become more of a playmaker. I expect that to start happening this year and that’s why David is in my top 20.
If David was this good as a rookie, Joe positively drools over how he might play this season in both his second year in the NFL and his second year in the New Schiano Order.
David very well may be the top up-and-comer in the NFC. He should be the anchor to the Bucs defense for quite some time.