Top 10 X-Factors Of 2016 – No. 4

July 13th, 2016

Kwon AlexanderThe Bucs have a pile of key question marks entering the 2016 season. Most teams do.

For this countdown series, Joe looks at this year’s top X-factors, guys with question marks who could be great difference-makers, positive or negative, based on changes in their performances.

Kwon Alexander – No. 4

Lots of mystery and intrigue swirls around Kwon. First, how much playing time will he get?

Veteran newcomer linebacker Daryl Smith plays at a high level and is used to taking nearly every snap. Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith handpicked Daryl Smith and knows what he can deliver. So which linebacker is coming off the field on passing downs? It won’t be Lavonte David, and most Bucs fans assume it will be Smith. But Joe’s not ready to make that leap just yet.

Kwon’s playmaking skills are undeniable, and clearly the Bucs missed him during their final-four nosedive of 2015. Suspended for using a banned substance, Kwon’s season was over after Week 13 with the Bucs sporting a 6-6 record. Was Kwon so incredibly valuable? Or were Lovie Smith and replacement linebacker Bruce Carter just unprepared for the inevitable suspension?

The upside to Kwon is his youth and work ethic. Most dedicated players make a significant leap from Year 1 to Year 2, and Kwon should fit that mold in 2016. He’s also still just 21 years old.

There’s an edge and a swagger to Kwon that is common to great players — and far too uncommon in the Bucs’ locker room over the past five seasons in the NFC South cellar. Kwon very well could be the total package, but he’s got so much to prove.

Jacquies Smith – No. 5

Brent Grimes – No. 6

Jameis Winston – No. 7

Charles Sims – No. 8

J.R. Sweezy – No. 9

Gerald McCoy — No. 10


16 Responses to “Top 10 X-Factors Of 2016 – No. 4”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    Waaaaay too much athleticism & speed to take off the field on 3rd down.

    When was the last time you saw a Sam stay on the field in a 2 LB alignment on passing downs?

  2. Bird Says:

    3. Mike Evans
    2. Lavonte David
    1. Douggie fresh Martin

  3. The Buc Realist Says:

    Lets all hope that the real x-factor was not the so called “energy drink” for Kwon, Hopefully he is the real deal and not another “lights out merriman”

  4. ARGH_M8E Says:

    You know who could be a sneaky X-factor…… If he even makes the team, is Russell Hansbrough. That dude has jets!!! Would b a nice compliment to Dougie-Sims and returner. We’ll see in camp and preseason I guess.

  5. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    I admire when a writer hits one over the fence. Your last paragraph was spot on and you described everything about Kwon this year in that single graph. Well done!

    There’s an edge and a swagger to Kwon that is common to great players — and far too uncommon in the Bucs’ locker room over the past five seasons in the NFC South cellar. Kwon very well could be the total package, but he’s got so much to prove.

  6. DB55 Says:

    I’ve been confused about this all offseason. Kwon and smith play same position so who’s our third linebacker? Will one of them move to the outside. That’s what I thought LVD, Smith, Kwon with Kwon outside. Am I wrong?

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    Hasn’t Smith been practicing at Sam?

  8. Pickgrin Says:

    DB55 – Daryl Smith is the SLB. Kwon is the MLB. Simple as that.

    Daryl Smith was brought in to replace Ray Lewis at MLB in Baltimore and had the best 3 seasons of his career. But he was previously an outside backer and can play any of the 3 positions. Daryl Smith is 34.

    Kwon Alexander is 21 and had a VERY promising rookie year. He called the plays from day 1 and was one of the few legit playmakers on a bad defense.

    Nobody is going to mess with that continuity and the ongoing development of a rising star in Alexander – in favor of a capable vet who has likely lost a step and is on his last or next to last year in the league.

    I love the Daryl Smith signing. He’s a huge upgrade over Lansanah IMO and will almost certainly play well in whatever roles he is assigned. Every LB in that room will benefit from his knowledge and experience and professionalism.

    But do I believe for 1 second that he will take Kwon’s MLB job and/or be the 2nd LB on the field w/ David when in Nickle pkg?? HELL NO!

    It should be a lot of fun to watch our LBers this year. I think this group is going to do some serious damage to opposing offenses in 2016.

  9. DB55 Says:

    Ty sir, appreciate it.

  10. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    If they pull Kwon off MLB there will be firings again.

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Realist- well said. He’s a young player and still has a lot to prove. Hopefully he can be that guy.
    Go get ’em Kwon!

  12. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    When u go into a nickel package there’s only 2 LB’s on the field. That’s why someone has to come off on passing downs.

    As far as last year when Kwon was suspended I didn’t think there was that much of a drop off in play at MLB with Bruce Carter filling in. If u go back and watch the film he did a pretty good job imo. So u can’t blame his play for the 4 game skid, I think it was more of a leadership role that was missing, his energy that Kwon brought to the defense wasn’t there. Personally I thought we should of kept carter and played him at sam but he was too expensive for a part time player. The bucs looked at it as there’s no reason we should pay 5 mil a year to a player who isn’t gonna see the field every down wich unfortanatlly, I understand.

  13. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    Remaining X factors imo~

    3) Mike Evans

    2) ASJ

    1) Mike Smith’s scheme

  14. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    I think everyone needs to calm down on Daryll Smith taking away playing time from Kwon or stunting his growth. As a matter of fact he will do the opposite and help Kwon in his growth, wich he still has alot to learn, no matter how Impressive his rookie campaign was. Dont get me wrong I love the kid and the fire he brings to this defense but he was out of position alot last year and missed quit a few tackles as well. And he’s got to learn to be more disciplined when team’s run the play action and not bite on it so hard. (Mariota).

    Smith is gonna do nothing but teach him and be a big brother of sorts. I think we can all agree that Kwon is the future and Smith is only here for his farewell tour and helping a old friend out with his new scheme. As well as teach the young guys a thing or two. Regardless of what happens I have full faith in Mike smith and what he does. He’s fully aware of what Kwon means to this team so R-E-L-A-X as the great Arron Rodgers would say.

  15. » Blog Archive » Top 10 X-Factors Of 2016 – No. 3 - Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News Says:

    […] Kwon Alexander – No. 4 […]

  16. » Blog Archive » Top 10 Bucs X-Factors For 2016 – No. 2 - Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News Says:

    […] Kwon Alexander – No. 4 […]