To the untrained eye, 2016 could have been seen as a down year for Bucs linebacker Lavonte David.
David had been a previous First Team All-Pro in 2013 where he posted more than 100 tackles, and was a Pro Bowler in 2015 with 85 tackles, three interceptions and three sacks. In 2016, however, he only accumulated 67 tackles (lowest of his career) and just one interception.
So, a down year statistically speaking, but, in terms of coverage (an observation that can’t be measured by common stats), Pro Football Focus says David performed well, giving him the fifth highest coverage grade for outside linebackers.
There are plenty of reasons as to why David’s individual numbers were down with common stats. For starters, fellow linebacker, Kwon Alexander, led the NFL in solo tackles for 2016, which certainly took away some numbers that would have belonged to David. Alexander’s presence also allows David to be more of the read-and-react player, which doesn’t always allow him to be first to the ball, but would certainly show up in categories like coverage grades.
David and Alexander were both left off the NFL’s Top 100 players this year, which seems like a pretty big miss. As the defense rises in the coming year, expect both of those players to start to get back to the recognition they deserve.