At least linebacker Lavonte David is getting some national recognition in some form or another. The popular video game, Madden, released its scoring for every NFL team and its players and for Bucs fans, the fact that David tops that list shouldn't be a surprise.
David scored a 95 overall with some notable factors contributing to his score. The outside linebacker scored a 92 for awareness and 93 for tackling, indicating that those are his strengths both on the physical field as well as the virtual one. Indeed, David led the Buccaneers in tackles with 101 combined in 2017. He was also second on the team behind only defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in tackles for loss. David's awareness? Look no further than his forced fumble AND fumble recovery numbers. He had a whopping five of each.
With all that, David still missed a Pro Bowl nod this past year. It may have more to do with the system he operates in versus anything he individually did. The Bucs run a 4-3 defense, which places more of an emphasis on the four down linemen pressuring the quarterback, freeing up the linebackers to play in space. David is tailored for that kind of operation, but in turn, he sacrifices sack numbers. Pro Bowl voting can be based heavily on that stat, putting David and others like him, at a disadvantage come January every year.
Back to the Madden list – Gerald McCoy and wide receiver Mike Evans immediately followed David, with right tackle Demar Dotson (88) and cornerback Brent Grimes (86) rounding out the top five. McCoy was scored at a 90, earning a 92 strength rating and a 91 for 'power moves.' It's unsurprising with the defensive lineman known for his 'get-off' and the number of quarterback hits he recorded last season (24). Evans scored an 89 overall, but scored a 94 in awareness and jumping – as if the 6'5" receiver isn't already tall enough.
The next two may be a surprise for some, but both Dotson and Grimes are established vets that routinely fly under the radar with their contributions. Dotson scored a 91 on pass blocking and a 92 on pass-blocking power – which won't show up anywhere on your typical stat sheet. Grimes' athleticism is no secret, sure, and he scored a 91 in both agility and jumping ability. But he also scored a 90 in play recognition, indicating Grimes' football prowess extends beyond his physical abilities and into the mental aspect of the game.
For the full list of Buccaneers player ratings, check out the below: