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Lavonte David Lands on Sports Illustrated's Top-10 Ranking of NFL Linebackers for 2023 | Brianna's Blitz

Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David fell among Sports Illustrated’s rundown of the best linebackers entering the 2023 season

David top-10 ranking

Slot corners and nickel packages have become a staple in every defense, monopolizing headlines in the modern NFL. However, the linebacker position remains an invaluable role, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers boast one of the league's elite in Lavonte David.

David received recognition as one of the top linebackers in the NFL, checking in at No. 6 in Sports Illustrated’s ranking of the position group. Here is what SI's Gilberto Manzano said about David:

"David, 33, also had a career resurgence in 2022, which earned him a one-year, $7 million contract to remain in Tampa Bay. Most linebackers become one-dimensional downhill playmakers at this stage of their careers, but David remains one of the best coverage linebackers, receiving an 88.0 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus during his 11th season (second only to Edmunds's '22 grade). Surprisingly, the first and only time that David was selected to the Pro Bowl was in '15. He's had at least 97 total tackles in each of the past six seasons."

33-year-old David has established himself as one of the best off-ball linebackers in the NFL. The screen-sniffer is not only adept at setting the edge against the run with lateral range, but is a zone-buster, taking away some of the NFL's tight end threats over the middle of the field. David played 95% of the Bucs defensive snaps last season, recording 1075 total. The Nebraska product is the longest-tenured player on the Bucs' roster and tallied 124 combined tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and five passes defensed in 2022.

During his 11-year tenure, David has amassed 1,346 tackles, 29.0 sacks, 143 tackles for loss, 62 quarterback hits, 12 interceptions, 59 passes defensed, 27 forced fumbles and 18 fumble recoveries. Regarded as the NFL's best-kept secret over the previous decade, David is one of two players in NFL history with 1,000 tackles, 20.0 sacks and 10 interceptions through eight career seasons, joining Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. Additionally, he has recorded the most solo tackles in the league since his arrival in 2012 with 947 and a league-high 18 fumble recoveries during that span. With instinctual play, understanding of leverage/angles, hip fluidity in transition and coverage prowess, David has cemented his legacy in the NFL.

Now entering his 12th season with the Buccaneers, David will strive to continue his dominance as an imposing force on Tampa Bay's defense.

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