Lavonte David — Underrated Again?

February 17th, 2021


One stats site Joe actually respects a great deal, but they don’t get anywhere near the run of another outfit that has the general public hoodwinked over their GD “grades.”

Joe guesses it helps to have high-priced columnists carry their water and be co-owned by a former NFL receiver who works high-profile primetime games.

The beancounters over at Football Outsiders have done a year-in-review sort of article where they give awards for best players. And for “Defensive Player of the Year,” it’s surprising to see a Bucs player so high up the list, but it is not the player you or Joe may have first considered.

The Football Outsiders crowd had Bucs linebacker Lavonte David as the fifth-best defender in the league.

Joe has long slammed the bar with a newly-emptied pint of Big Storm Bromosa because year in and year out David got the shaft when it came to Pro Bowl nominations. Same thing happened this year, only David got the last laugh hugging the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Another reason Joe was surprised David was ranked so highly is if Joe were picking the best Bucs linebackers, as much as Joe respects David, Joe would have to go with Devin White.

However, Joe is more remembering White from his postseason play. When White returned from the COVID-reserve list, White played like a wild man. He really did look like Ray Lewis. So maybe it is the fresh memory of White playing like a one-man gang.

Here are the top defenders in 2020 for Football Outsiders:

Who is the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year? (Last year’s winner: Stephon Gilmore, CB, NE)
57.3% Aaron Donald, DT, LAR
14.5% T.J. Watt, OLB, PIT
7.4% Jaire Alexander, CB, GB
6.2% Lavonte David, ILB, TB
6.2% Xavien Howard, CB, MIA
4.2% Fred Warner, MLB, SF
3.0% Bobby Wagner, MLB, SEA
1.2% Demario Davis, MLB, NO

25 Responses to “Lavonte David — Underrated Again?”

  1. Bob in Valrico Says:

    LVD’s ability to play pass defense, is one of the reasons Devin White has excelled. Can’t remember a PI being called on him. Also believe his coverage
    put extra pressure on Kelce and contributed to some critical drops.

  2. geno711 Says:

    Nice to see readers of Football Outsiders giving Lavonte David credit.

    The reference you posted was not a vote by their staff but by readers of their site.

  3. Bird Says:

    Jaire alexander ?

    Gimme a break

    Watt is a stud. (The other watt)

    You go lavonte

    3 years 35 mil ( all guaranteed). Cmon lavonte. Take it 😂

  4. WhatTheBuc Says:

    The fact that Bobby Wagner received so many pro bowl and all pro votes shows that the writers aren’t really watching. Wagner sat in the middle of a completely garbage defense and his numbers were down but they know his name so they pencil him in.

  5. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Pay him and Godwin first and foremost. Priorities!!!

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    Never understood these rankings for ‘Best Defensive Player’ and ‘Best Offensive Player’. IMO it’s more about VALUE TO YOUR TEAM, and that’s where a player like LVD excels. To say that LVD is ‘better’ than White, or vice-versa, is meaningless far as I can see; it’s the two of them TOGETHER that makes them each so valuable.

    Maybe it’s akin Joe to asking ‘Who was funnier: Abbott or Costello?’ (same with every great comedy duo). They were funny TOGETHER because they complemented each other so well, and that’s all that really mattered.

  7. #1bucsfan Says:

    Give him his respect dammit. This still is not good enough joe. Like you said David got the last laugh. But still give the man his respect for crying out loud

  8. Leighroy Says:

    White really did look like Ray Lewis that stretch, agreed. But he’s got a long way to go in coverage to earn that comparison to stick. Ray had multiple INTs yearly and dozens of passes defensed. Would love to see white reach those stats!

    LVD though should be nicknamed The Flash. For the past decade, on defenses both good and bad, LVD has always been around the football. Even if he’s not the guy in coverage, he rallies and closes on receivers or rbs like lightning. Never takes a bad angle, rarely doesn’t wrap up, the guy is just fundamentally supreme and the ball carrier is down.

    My hope is that if anyone will take a hometown discount, it’s him. David and shaq are priority resign bc of their role and prominence, Godwin and Suh are luxuries bc of depth and age respectively.

  9. Beeej Says:

    There’s no statistical evidence for Donald to be above TJ Watt

  10. Bradinator Says:

    Pay the man! Still a Top 10 LB in the league (or higher Top 5) and paired up with White, we got a hard to beat tandem out there.

  11. Marine Buc Says:

    I hate to say it but I dont know if the Bucs have the cap space to bring back everyone from last year…

    We have @ $20 million to sign 25 free agents.

    We have seven draft picks.

    I believe we waive goodbye to AB, Fornette, Godwin, David, Gronk and several other quality back ups like OG A. Stinnie…

    Our starting O-line stays in place. Our starting DBs stay in place…

    We draft a LB at #32 maybe a WR in round 2.


    Marine Buc, if Bucs do as you suggest Brady’s receiving core will be depleted. Keep in mind who shined in SB. If I would move anyone it would be Evan’s and keep Brown and Godwin. Gronk is a must for his multitasking abilities. Fournett is disposable, a good 3rd down back will more than make up for his handful of PO bull runs. I believe you could get AB for $5m plus incentives. Miller & Johnson will more than make up for Evan’s. No offense to him, he is a baller but over paid & over valued.

  13. Godlovesbucs Says:

    Too high imo. Love LVD, but he isnt even best defender on our team. That would be Devin White.

  14. Marine Buc Says:

    @ listn

    We owe too much guaranteed money to Mike Evan’s due to past restructurings of his contract.

    He isn’t going anywhere in my opinion.

    I would love to see Gronk, AB and Godwin back but a lot of it depends on what kind of money they will demand.

    Keep on mind we have @ $20 million to spend and dont forget about Shaq Barrett. He will eat up most of that available cap space..

  15. Godlovesbucs Says:

    I think listen is referring to evans as a trade option. We could get a 2nd, maybe a late #1 for him. Thatbwould relieve cap space and recoup a higher pick than losing Godwin would do. I dont know if thats a good idea tho. Glad I dont have to make this decision.

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    @ GLB

    A trade for Evans is possible but not likely…

    I understand what you are suggesting but I would be very surprised if it happens.

    It’s more likely that Godwin finds a big money deal in Jacksonville or in NY…

    I agree. Tough decisions will have to be made this offseason.

  17. Godlovesbucs Says:

    Marine. I dont suggest this by any means. I think that is the more rewarding situation if we have to get rid of one of them, but I dont like losing mike at all. I also think they need to find a way to keep shaq and godwin above all other F.A. tho. Losing LVD although tough would not hurt us long term as much as losing either of those guys. They contribute greatly now and are in the age group to take over as the premier at their position when evans and jpp decline due to age. It allows to build for the future past brady, not just win now. But losing LVD would hurt me as a fan, he has been my favorite defensive player since he came from nebraska.

  18. Marine Buc Says:

    I agree. It would hurt as a fan to lose LVD but I see it as a very likely scenario.

    My only hope is we draft another solid LB with our first pick and we are able to keep it going on D.

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … Agree with you about Evans (trade possible but unlikely). Teams restructure their key players’ contract because they KNOW those key players aren’t going anywhere. Restructuring usually involves a lot of ‘dead CAP’ money, and that oftentimes complicates trades because it doesn’t just disappear (either the old team or the new team ends up being responsible for it).

    IMO, LVD isn’t going anywhere. LVD & White are what I still think of as ‘The Cleaners’. No matter what happens in front of them, they clean up the mess. The 2 of them together were involved in 257 tackles last season (that’s a bunch). They also contributed 10.5 sacks, 19 QB Hits & 27 TFLs … as ILBs. They complement each other perfectly because of their talent & speed. I can’t imagine that the Bucs would even think about not re-signing LVD to a long-term contract so that he can finish out his career here in Tampa.

  20. SlyPirate Says:

    Godlovesbucs … I agree. LVD is a special player, he was fantastic in the SB, and I love seeing him on this list. That said, he’s not even the clear cut best defensive player on the Bucs … let alone the league.

    Roquan Smith and Jordan Poyer vs LVD

    Player – Tackles – Sacks – INTs
    Smith – 139 – 4 – 2
    Poyer – 124 – 2 – 2
    LVD – 117 – 1.5 – 1

    Again, good for LVD but sorry Bucs fans there are better LBs in the league. One of them plays directly next to LVD on the Bucs.

  21. Marine Buc Says:

    @ defense

    I hope you are correct. Would hate to see LVD wearing any other uniform.

    I just dont see how it is possible we get all these signings done under our current cap situation.

    I know we will restructure a few contracts but that will only get us another $5-$7 million. We currently have a little over $20 million to spend.

    My hope is the entire FA market will be suppressed due to Covid a d we get most back on cheap one year deals..

  22. Bucs Guy Says:

    Sitting at $152M with a projected $180M cap.
    Got to re-sign: Succop, Shaq, LVD
    For the right price: Fournette, Suh, Gronk, AB
    Leaves: Godwin

    Found a kicker finally, make sure you keep him. Keep your core on D – Shaq. White can’t pass cover like LVD. Everyone knows that’s White’s weakness. LVD will take less $ to stay.
    For the right price: i like how hard Fournette runs, but I think he will go where the $ is at. Sign to a 1 year deal and chose him or ROJO next year for the long term. Sign Suh to a 2 or 3 year guaranteed contract for less dollars. Gronk and AB will stay, but Gronk is not close to being worth $10M.
    Leave: I love Godwin, but he will be the odd man out unless they sign him to a 1year deal or a longer deal of low value in year 1. Another WR heavy draft class. Cap should go up $10M + next year and could be an opportunity in structuring deals.
    Contracts to renegotiate to save cap space: D Smith $14.5M, Gholston $6.5M, Pinion $2.8M, OJ $6M, Jensen $10M, Marpet $10.6M. Should be able to shave $5M (10%).

  23. Court XXXVII Says:

    Bucs Guy, I love your take. I see Godwin leaving, too. If he does, I hope he gets a fabulous, maxed-out, high-dollar contract. I’ll be sad to see him go — but knowing he’s likely to get a huge, #1 receiver payout will help with the pain. Re: the importance of resigning LVD: when Jake Arians appeared on the latest episode of the Loose Cannons podcast, he was asked which player he thought was most (#1) imperative to keep/resign. He said LVD. He talked about how it’s the tandem play between LVD & DK that cannot, and won’t, be reproduced.

  24. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    To leave white out of that is an Injustice!! The guy had 145 tackles, 9 flipping sacks, 2 or 3 forced fumbles, 2 or 3 fumble recoveries and what? 4 picks including the playoffs!! That dude is the best defender in the league!! And THAT’S why you pick a MLB with your 5th pick…. Hopefully joebuc had learned a little about what makes a team dominate from that pick!!

  25. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    Joe said:
    “However, Joe is more remembering White from his postseason play.”
    Yes. White seemed to finally become proficient in pass coverage late in the season. If using “body of work” as a standard, David is my choice this season.

    I’m still trying to find the avocado tequila…