View some of the top photos of LB Lavonte David from the 2017 season.
In an article published on NFL.com, Dan Hanzus predicted each team's MVP for the upcoming 2018 season. His pick for the Buccaneers? 'Anonymous' star linebacker Lavonte David.
"David might be the most anonymous star in the NFL today," Hanzus wrote. "He's been a difference-making presence in Tampa Bay's defense for six years now, but he has only one *Pro Bowl nod to show for it. At least the tape geeks are paying attention: Pro Football Focus ranked David second amongst all linebackers last season, sandwiched between Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly. That is pretty solid company. If you believe the Bucs are going to bounce back from last season's disappointment, expect David to be a primary reason why."*
David is far from anonymous to Bucs fans. Since being drafted by the team in 2012, David has started every game he's played in Tampa Bay – all 91 of them. He's been a defensive staple, along with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. The pair are the two longest-tenured Bucs on the team.
Though often overlooked due to a questionable Pro Bowl voting system that favors inside linebackers with higher sack totals, David earned All-Pro honors in 2013 and finally made the Pro Bowl in 2015. And yes – you read that correctly. He has amassed 547 tackles, forced 17 fumbles (with 11 recoveries) and had 10 interceptions, two of which he returned for a touchdown, in his six-year Buccaneers career.
With more help up front this season alongside McCoy on the defensive line and key additions in the draft to the secondary, David and the others in a stacked linebackers corps should be freed up to move more freely and make plays.
Big plays should aid in David having a breakout year like Hanzus predicted, but hopefully that comes with getting noticed as well.