Lavonte David, “Anonymous Star”

June 9th, 2018

It’s still hard for Joe to believe that Lavonte David played 13 games last season without a sack or an interception.

He had 10 picks and 18 sacks through his first five years before the 2017 goose egg.

He even officially defended just one pass last season. Somehow, Chris “Swaggy” Baker defended two, per NFL stats.

But none of those poor 2017 numbers makes David a bad football player. He’s a good football player. But is David an MVP candidate?

Dan Hanzus of thinks so. He set out to identify a 2018 MVP for every team and chose David for Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lavonte David, LB

David might be the most anonymous star in the NFL today. He’s been a difference-making presence in Tampa Bay’s defense for six years now, but he has only one Pro Bowl nod to show for it. At least the tape geeks are paying attention: Pro Football Focus ranked David second amongst all linebackers last season, sandwiched between Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly. That is pretty solid company. If you believe the Bucs are going to bounce back from last season’s disappointment, expect David to be a primary reason why.

Joe puts a big chunk of responsibility here on Mike Smith. Get the most out of your talent, Coach. You’ve got studs at every level of the defense, and David is one of them.

If you missed Joe chatting with linebackers coach Mark Duffner about David and Kwon Alexander’s sackless season in 2017, then you can read all about that here. Duffner said timing, footwork and awareness needed improvement, among other things.

That written, Hanzus certainly could be correct. David has the talent to be defensive MVP. Hopefully, he’s one of a few Bucs defenders to step up and deliver a stud season in 2018.

26 Responses to “Lavonte David, “Anonymous Star””

  1. SOEbuc Says:

    LVD always has somewhat good years. He’s always one of our top players on defense. If the Dline can be what people think it can be, he could blow up this year.

  2. diggler Says:

    lots of missed tackles on those 4th quarter collapses. MVP on the worst defense in the league. When will you homers stop drinking the Quan and LVD cool aid!?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Dirk diggler the LB role is just as tough as secondary when you have 22 sack dline and coaches that won’t let you blitz. I’m not gonna stop getting off any LVD cool aid with 5 FF last year.

  4. SOEbuc Says:

    Dirk Diggler LB is just as tough as secondary with 22 sack dline and coaches that won’t let you blitz. Had 5 FF, 3 recovered last year and you can still see he can be awesome. Watching Boogie Nights earlier Diggler, get off the dope.

  5. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Bottom line is that LVD has underperformed since about year three. He has not lived up to the potential that we were led to believe he had. No one on that defense has, except maybe Grimes…and he wasn’t a draft pick for us.

    LVD could be a difference maker, even with a bad defensive line. He should be a vocal leader too…yet he is not.

    I believe Licht and Koetter are looking to replace him, which is why they keep drafting Linebackers even though we appear to be stacked at the position. Don’t be surprised to see one of the backups filling in at his position often during OTAs, Minicamps and TC.

    He’s got three years left on his deal, at a cost of nearly ten million per year average. After this year, he carries no cap hit if cut.

    He’ll be 29 come January.

    The writing is on the wall…unless he really steps up, LVD is on his way out the door next year. Especially with three big contracts on the horizon.

  6. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I remember the days when Joe did not allow the use of multiple usernames. I have to wonder why anyone would need so many names, unless he has something to hide.

    Double posting though? Under different usernames? lol. Whatever.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Nothing seemed quite right about our defense last year & that bled over to individual play….let’s drop it and move on.
    I do believe a better Dline will give the LBs free reign and they will perform much better.
    LVD is a solid player….I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

  8. BoJim Says:

    Get LD and GM into the playoffs before they flame out.

  9. AGbucsfan Says:

    “David might be the most anonymous star in the NFL today.”

    That’s spot on. It drives me nuts how underappreciated this dude is. He has been arguably the best linebacker in the league EVERY year he’s been here. With a little more free reign this year he should absolutely become a household name. It’s a travesty he’s only made one pro bowl.

  10. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Until last year, David had always peformed but rarely got the worthy recognition. I stick with my position that Swaggy came in with a bad attitude (“This is my sorry way, dare you to say something.”) that was allowed to permeate the defense. The coaches seemed to stand by and let it infect others. It seemed like they weren’t playing for anyone last year…not the coaches, not each other, not themselves. Add to that, I think the media hyped them to be better than they were. If they can get the attitude they had for ’16, this team is going to the playoffs this year.

  11. Bird Says:


    This article is so true. Just read the comments above which claim he is not that good/underperformed Hilarious.

    I mean people on this site really can’t see. It’s that simple. Captain obvious even knows what a stud lavonte David is. Favorite player on defense and expecting huge year from him. Ranked between Wagner and keukly is pretty good company.

    And why does someone have to be vocal to be a great player /leader. Pretty sure derrick brooks was lead by example. He talked junk but was reserved/quiet. It’s clear lavonte has some anxiety disorder of some sort cause you can feel his nerves in interviews.

    I want a guy who goes out there and plays at 1000 mph with his hair on fire. Who cares what he has to say. I honestly don’t care for people who constantly run their mouth and don’t back it up with their play.

  12. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Better D Line play should open lanes for LB’s. Having a player like Vea Who posesses both the size and strength to play 0 technique should help the entire defense. LVD has been most effective when he doesn’t have to cover for other players.

  13. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Bucs will have to work hard to find a player as good or better than LVD IMO.
    I am hoping that doesn’t happen for at least two or three years.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Roy, if Baker’s ‘bad attitude’ was allowed to ‘permeate the defense’ then shame on coaches AND the players. If ONE player is bringing down a team, the solution’s easy: Bye Bye. Last year’s mediocre defensive play wasn’t just on Baker; it was on every single member of that defense. Lavonte had a lackluster year (wish I could’ve made $10 mil a year for lackluster performance in my profession). So did Kwon. So did GMC. So did Gholston. Didn’t see too many shining stars in the Secondary either.

    This year HAS TO BE BETTER. Completely agree with Bob that “Better D Line play should open lanes for LB’s.” And Bonzai, like TBBF I don’t think LVD is going anywhere next year (although he very likely will be asked to renegotiate his contract UNLESS he has a truly spectacular year). The LB’s play I’m most concerned with is Kwon’s. I wish that Beckwith was healthy to give him some competition at MLB, but I’m afraid Kendell will miss all of training camp (I hope Bucs don’t rush him & let him get back to 100%).

  15. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    The same needs to be said for our entire team. We need to be a team of anonymous stars. It’s better to be unnoticed and catch people by surprise than to be overhyped and disappointing.

  16. Doc Says:

    In the N.F.L. after six years, G.M.’s start looking for replacement pieces, to include linebackers. The Buc’s can not afford to sit back and hope a player play better.

  17. BoJim Says:

    Can we just draft players with a European heritage moving forward? Chris Conte is our best player

  18. Doc Says:

    Let’s trade him

  19. Destinjohnny Says:

    Had he been the same player since he got paid?

  20. Kobe Faker Says:

    “I wish we drafted Derwin James like Kobe Faker said instead of all these backup players. we needed someone to cleanup all the misses of our redheaded matador Kownie”

    Lavante David

  21. Jeffbuc Says:

    Really why are we all drinking David koolaide. You just seen why because a business that watches tape from every play from every player has him rated second out of all the linebackers in the league. And they have no dog in the fight so it is unbiased. You watch 16 games probably hammered by halftime and remember One missed tackle so you think he is horrible. But you forget all the great plays he makes. He single handily kept us in a couple of games this year being all over the field. Do you actually break down every snap he took like they do. That’s there job and they rated him 2nd best in league. Enough said

  22. Jeffbuc Says:

    I just saw something on ESPN where they were talking about every rookie so far through minicamp. James is playing with the second team. They said he needs to really learn the defense and where to be. Maybe that is why he fell. His football iq is probably not very good. You can’t just go out there and play on athleticism alone. I know you think he is great but 15 other teams passed on him also. So scouts must have seen something they didn’t like.

  23. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Agree with TBBF that our improved DL will also improve our LB play.

    We’ve talked about how DB’s can play better aided by a pass rush….when the offenses are preparing for a solid rush from our DL….figure out blocking assignments…which players draw double teams…that makes blitzing LB’s that much more effective and frequently unaccounted for.

  24. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    LVD was a terror in schiano’s defense as well aa GMC, know they were younger but still have not seen that high level….if beckwith recovers he is better in the middle than kwon

  25. Kobe Faker Says:


    agree with u. saftey position is hard to digest in the beginning

    no worries. james will start after preseason

  26. Roy T. Buford Says:

    @DefenseRules…agree totally…bad on the players too. You’d think “professional” means something in the NFL…sometimes I do wonder with some of those guys.