Lavonte David

Draft Grades: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This was a potential franchise changing draft for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They made the wise decision to move back in the 1st round, which allowed them to acquire the picks necessary to move back up in the late 1st and come away with a huge haul on day one of the draft.

The Bucs passed up the opportunity to land Morris Claiborne, but still upgraded their secondary with the addition of Mark Barron. The Bucs should still be worried about their cornerbacks, but Barron will be a fun weapon for defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan to use. He’s a versatile player who can be effective when lining up all over the field.

Doug Martin was arguably the most underrated player in this draft class and the Bucs got an absolute steal in the late 1st round. He’s the next star undersized running back, following in the footsteps of Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew.

I wasn’t as high on Lavonte David as most, but he’s a perfect fit in Tampa. They’re one of the few teams that doesn’t mind using smaller, more athletic linebackers and David fits the mold perfectly. He’ll start at weak-side linebacker from day one.

Najee Goode will add some depth, and can play strong-side or inside linebacker, but he real value may be on special teams.

Keith Tandy adds some depth at cornerback, but I’m a little surprised they waited this long to address the position. They’re putting a lot of faith in Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib, and that’s a risky decision.

Michael Smith could prove to be a steal in the 7th round. I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith takes over the backup job from LeGarrette Blount before the season is over.

Drake Dunsmore can play tight end or fullback. He’ll have to battle for a job in training camp with a number of players at both positions.

The Bucs didn’t get much help on the third day of the draft and failed to upgrade their situation at cornerback, but that’s the only think holding them back from an A+. This was a phenomenal haul for a franchise that was in need of a boost. Considering the fact that the Falcons and Saints did very little to help themselves this offseason, the Bucs closed the gap in the NFC South in a big way.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Buccaneers, Draft Grades - 2012 Comments Off

Lavonte David scouting report

Lavonte David OLB Nebraska #4
Ht: 6’1″

Wt: 225

An impressive natural athlete. Looks very fluid in coverage; quick footwork and impressive change-of-direction ability for a linebacker. Plenty of experience dropping into man coverage. Has the speed and athleticism to stick with most running backs and tight ends. Occasionally lines up vs slot receivers. Above-average straight-line speed. Looks fluid dropping into zone coverage; does a nice job staying in his zone and tracking the quarterback’s eyes. Generally takes good angles in pursuit. Very reliable tackler. Experience lining up inside and outside in Nebraska 4-3 defense.
Undersized for some defensive schemes. Lack of height will hurt his ability to match up with some tight ends. Struggles to shed blocks consistently; swallowed up by offensive linemen and fullbacks once he’s engaged. Reliable tackler, but lacks the strength to consistently quickly bring ball carriers to the ground; often stands them up as others swarm to the ball to bring him down. Very little experience blitzing, but likely won’t be asked to blitz often in NFL either due to lack of size. Lacks the ball skills to be a playmaker in coverage.
David is an elite coverage linebacker, however, he is a liability against the run. For that reason, he will receive a wide range of grades from teams based on how his skill set fits their system. His athleticism makes him a prototypical Tampa Two linebacker, and could be a star in that system. He could also make a transition to inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but may not be a three-down linebacker in that scheme due to his struggles against the run. Even if he is only a part-time player, he has enough value to warrant a 2nd-round pick. This is a pass-first league, so more often that not he’ll be an asset on the field.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off