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Lavonte David, 'He is the Standard' | Brianna's Blitz 

General Manager Jason Licht discusses the standard that linebacker Lavonte David has set for future draft prospects

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Each year as the NFL Draft looms, anticipation builds. Optimism abounds for all 32 clubs across the league as they build for the future. Annually, front office personnel, scouts and football staff extensively search for players who have an undisputed love of the game and the work ethic to succeed. On Friday, Buccaneers' General Manager Jason Licht discussed how linebacker Lavonte David personifies the aforementioned traits and has become the prototype that the Bucs' brass searches for each year in the draft process.

 "He is the poster child literally for us," stated Licht. "We have a picture of a silhouette in our draft room that says, 'I am that man.' It is the person that we want in a player – the traits, or some of them that we just said – and it does not show his face, but it is Lavonte. He is the one that we look for every year. He is the standard."

David is the paragon of greatness. Throughout his 12-year career, he has achieved both longevity and consistency. David is the heart and soul of the Bucs' defense, spearheading the unit with unadulterated leadership and urgency on the gridiron. The committed veteran plays the game the way it is supposed to be played – with fervor and reverence. In 2023, David showed no signs of slowing down at the age of 33 and played a critical role in guiding the Buccaneers to their third-straight division crown. He led the team with 134 tackles and notched 4.5 sacks. David was the lone player in the NFL in 2023 with 100-plus tackles, 15-plus tackles for loss and 3.0-plus sacks. His 17 tackles for loss last season are the second-most in a single-season by a player age 33 or older since data became available in 2008.

David started all 15 games in which he played in 2023, missing two contests due to a groin injury. Overall, David has played in 181 regular season games, starting all of them, and has accumulated 1,477 tackles, 33.5 sacks, 160 tackles for loss, 28 forced fumbles, 18 fumble recoveries, 12 interceptions and 64 passes defensed during his tenure. He has built a Hall of Fame-worthy resumé and although David is egregiously underrated year-after-year, he is held to the utmost respect by his peers and offensive coordinators around the NFL. He is the franchise's all-time leader in fumble recoveries and ranks second in tackles, fifth in games played, fourth in games started and eighth in sacks.

Since 2000, David's 10 seasons with 100-plus tackles are the third-most in the NFL, trailing only London Fletcher (14) and Bobby Wagner (11). Through his first 11 seasons, David joined London Fletcher, Ray Lewis, Bobby Wagner and Junior Seau as the only players in league annals to record 1,300-plus tackles, 25-plus sacks and 10-plus interceptions through their first 11 seasons.

In the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Bucs took a generational talent in David, which sparked a revival on defense. David leads by example and elevates those around him. The former Cornhusker generates timely plays and possesses rare instincts. The tackling technician flashes pursuit skills against the run with an understanding of angles/leverage and is effective in both man and zone at covering tight ends. David's play recognition jumps off the tape as he routinely disrupts screens, swing passes and crossers. He operates at an elite level and continues to leave his legacy on the gridiron.

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