Last week, as the preseason came to an end, several of NFL.com's writers pooled together to give their opinions on which players would win several of the league's top individual awards, including MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and more.
Two Buccaneers were brought up over the course of the debate – linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. David was selected by Elliot Harrison as his candidate for Defensive Player of the Year while Alexander was Bucky Brooks' pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
David led the league in tackles per game last season and has recorded 139 tackles or more in each of his three seasons since entering the NFL. He was listed at No. 56 on NFL Network's Top 100 countdown and was an All-Pro in 2013.
"He probably won't win this award because half of America hasn't heard of him," Harrison, joking on the fact that David has yet to earn a Pro Bowl nomination, "but I am voting for him anyway."
Alexander, who was selected in the fourth round of this year's NFL draft out of LSU, began the preseason with the second-team and stepped in with the Bucs' starters after just one game. Despite sitting out the Bucs' final preseason game, he recorded 14 tackles, the ninth-most of any inside linebacker in the league. His eight stops were tied for the seventh-most of any player at his position.
"The high-motor playmaker serves notice that he is a force to be reckoned with by leading the NFL in tackles as a rookie," Brooks wrote.
The Bucs' third starting linebacker has earned praise himself this offseason. In the spring, Pro Football Focus listed Danny Lansanah as the Bucs' "secret superstar." Along with veteran Bruce Carter, the Bucs' linebackers could be the strongest position group on the team.