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Data Crunch: David Delivers in All Phases

Since entering the NFL in 2012, Bucs LB Lavonte David has produced as a top-five NFL defender in an impressively wide array of categories


Lavonte David entered the NFL as the 58th overall pick in the 2012 draft, taken in the second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since that time, David might be the most productive defender in the entire NFL, if one considers both the depth and the breadth of a player's stat line.

For instance, David has already forced three fumbles and recovered three fumbles this season, totals that are tied for first and first in the NFL, respectively. But this is nothing new; David has been creating and completing turnovers since his first season. From 2012 through Week Eight of the current season, he ranks second in fumble recoveries and tied for sixth in forced fumbles.

Most Opponent Fumble Recoveries, NFL, 2012-17

**Rank** **Player** **Team(s)** **FR**
1 J.J. Watt HOU 11
2t Lavonte David TB 9
2t D'Qwell Jackson CLE/IND 9
2t Julius Peppers CAR/CHI/GB 9
5t Mike Adams DEN/IND/CAR 8
5t Fletcher Cox PHI 8
5t Rob Ninkovich NE 8
5t Craig Robertson CLE/NO 8

Most Forced Fumbles, NFL, 2012-17

**Rank** **Player** **Team(s)** **FF**
1 Robert Quinn LAR 18
2t Ryan Kerrigan WAS 17
2t Von Miller DEN 17
2t Cameron Wake MIA 17
5 Carlos Dunlap CIN 16
6t Lavonte David TB 15
6t Cliff Avril DET/SEA 15
6t Chandler Jones NE/AZ 15
6t Charles Tillman CHI/CAR 15
6t J.J. Watt HOU 15

But wait, there's more. A whole lot more.

You may have noticed that there is only a little bit of overlap between those two lists above, with only David and Watt showing up on both. We expanded that last one just a bit to the top six instead of the top five to display those two, but that won't be necessary in the charts below. As will be obvious, David's statistical prowess since 2012 overlaps with a lot of different league leaders.

The charts below display the top five from 2012-17 in four different categories: Total Tackles, Solo Tackles, Tackles for Loss and Stuffs. Stuffs are a subset of tackles for loss that specifically apply to a running back being stopped behind the line of scrimmage on a rushing play.

Most Total Tackles, NFL, 2012-17

**Rank** **Player** **Team(s)** **Total Tackles**
1 Luke Kuechly CAR 747
2 Bobby Wagner SEA 703
3 Lavonte David TB 699
4 Paul Posluszny JAX 649
5 Lawrence Timmons PIT/MIA 634

Most Solo Tackles, NFL, 2012-17

**Rank** **Player** **Team(s)** **Solo Tackles**
1 Lavonte David TB 501
2 Paul Posluszny JAX 485
3 Luke Kuechly CAR 477
4 Lawrence Timmons PIT/MIA 433
5 Karlos Dansby MIA/AZ/CLE/CIN 422

Most Tackles for Loss, NFL, 2012-17

**Rank** **Player** **Team(s)** **TFLs**
1 J.J. Watt HOU 123
2 Lavonte David TB 88
3 Von Miller DEN 84
4 Michael Bennett TB/SEA 82
5 Ndamukong Suh DET/MIA 79

Most Stuffs, NFL, 2012-17

**Rank** **Player** **Team(s)** **Stuffs**
1 J.J. Watt HOU 69.5
2 Lavonte David TB 57.0
3 Michael Bennett TB/SEA 51.0
4 Calais Campbell AZ/JAX 43.0
5 Ndamukong Suh DET/MIA 42.5

As a 4-3 outside linebacker, David is in position to make a lot of tackles, and to add tackles for loss and forced fumbles. Obviously, the league's sack leaderboard is going to be dominated by defensive linemen and pass-rushing linebackers, while it is the NFL's defensive backs that are going to crowd the top of the interceptions and passes defensed list. However, among defenders whose primary job it is to tackle ballcarriers, David is one of the best at also providing those other big plays in the backfield and in the secondary.

Only five players in the NFL have had at least 500 total tackles and at least 10 interceptions since 2012. Not surprisingly, David is one of those five.

**Rank** **Player** **Team(s)** **INTs** **Tackles**
1 Reshad Jones MIA 15 512
2 Luke Kuechly CAR 14 747
3 Eric Weddle SD/BAL 12 504
4t Lavonte David TB 10 699
4t Thomas Davis CAR 10 576

At the same time, and with a wonderful dose of symmetry, David is one of just five players since 2012 to have at least 500 total tackles and at least 15 sacks…and only because we're rounding up on Bobby Wagner's 14.5 sacks.

**Rank** **Player** **Team(s)** **Sacks** **Tackles**
1 Lawrence Timmons PIT/MIA 18.5 634
2 Lavonte David TB 18.0 699
3 Thomas Davis CAR 16.5 576
4 David Harris NYJ/NE 15.5 576
4t Bobby Wagner SEA 14.5 703

As you can see, the only overlap on those two lists – the only players in the NFL to have at least 500 total tackles, at least 10 interceptions and at least 15 sacks, are David and Carolina's Thomas Davis. Here's a comparison of those two in that time span in all the statistical categories we've listed above: Total Tackles, Solo Tackles, TFLs, Stuffs, Interceptions, Forced Fumbles and Fumble Recoveries. We've also added passes defensed.

**Player** **Team** **TT*** **ST*** **Sacks** **INTs** **PDs** **FF** **FR** **TFL** **STF***
Lavonte David TB 699 501 18.0 10 35 15 9 88 57.0
Thomas Davis CAR 576 396 16.5 10 24 10 6 46 18.5

It's abundantly clear that both David and Davis are fantastic NFL defenders capably of impacting a game in a wide variety of ways. Choosing one or the other for your defense would probably be a matter of personal preference. Still, they are the only two 500-tackle, 10-interception, 15-sack players in the NFL since David joined the league. There are a number of additional statistical filters we could apply to make David stand alone, but one easy one is tackles for loss. As seen in the chart above, David has 88 of those to Davis's 46.

Thus, if we search for any player who has at least 500 tackles, 10 interceptions, 15 passes defensed and 50 tackles for loss since 2012, we come up with just one name:

Lavonte David.

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