Don't get me wrong. I'm SUPER pumped about three players making the Pro Bowl for the Buccaneers this year. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin become the first pair of receivers to make the Pro Bowl in the same year ever from the Bucs and the first pair period since 2009 when both Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald made it in a year where the Arizona Cardinals were coming off a Super Bowl appearance.
It's more than deserved considering before their injuries, they were two of the top three receivers in the league for significant stretches this season. The NFL's sack leader will also be representing the Bucs as outside linebacker Shaq Barrett makes his first Pro Bowl appearance. What a steal he was in free agency. Tying franchise records a year after it was a big deal the Bucs had a double-digit sack player.
That's all well and good. But it's not what I'm here to talk about.
I'm here to talk about the same snub that happens year after year. I'm here to offer condolences to all those who worked hard to drum up votes only to be disappointed again. I'm here to console those that thought a switch in scheme for the Bucs FINALLY meant this was the year.
Inside linebacker Lavonte David is again on the outside looking in and I'm sad. I know name recognition has a lot to do with selections but I thought after harping on how criminally underrated he is, perhaps he finally wouldn't be.
Maybe the competition was just too much?
Who did make it?
From the NFC, Carolina's Luke Kuechly and Seattle's Bobby Wagner were the inside linebacker selections.
Using sportradar.com, I made a little chart. Maybe that will give us some answers.
Nope. While David has the least tackles, he has more than double Wagner's tackles for loss and quarterback hits. Where Kuechly excels in coverage, David excels in pressure and popping the ball out. He added two forced fumbles to his total this season, giving him 20 in his career. The most of any off-ball linebacker since he entered the league in 2012. He also has the second-most tackles for loss of any player in that span, behind just J.J. Watt – and let me remind you, his only job is to get to the quarterback. David has the second-most interceptions by linebackers of any kind in that span, too, with 11. The only player that has more is Kuechly.
But this is 2019. And David falls out of the top 10 lists for such categories – even just in terms of linebackers. And the NFL doesn't account for 'make-up years,' unfortunately.
Maybe next year.