Going into Monday’s game against the Miami Dolphins one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers most highly touted rookies was linebacker Lavonte David, from the University of Nebraska. David had been impressive this entire off-season, and one of the question marks heading into his debut on Friday was whether he could handle the transition in game speed from the NCAA to the NFL. Based off of his short time playing yesterday the answer to whether he can make the transition seems to be a resounding yes.
David, who grew up just a few miles from where he made his NFL debut on Friday night, was playing in front of a huge contingent of family members, 25 to be exact, and did not disappoint. David immediately let the Dolphins know that he would be a force this season for a Buccaneers line-backing core that could use some help. David started off with a tackle for loss, then later intercepted an errant pass by Matt Moore.
What was more amazing about David, aside from his production in just a short time, was that he, in no way, looked like a rookie playing in his first ever NFL game. David looked poised, calm, and ready to strike. The huge leap in speed, from the college game to the NFL, was not even a slight hindrance for David who said, “It was definitely faster. But I kind of got used to it. As the game went on, I just adjusted.”
Although David showed, in practice, that he could be a great sideline to sideline player, similar to the effect he had at Nebraska, translating that from practice to an actual in-game situation is a huge difference, and something only the most talented players can do. Well, luckily for Bucs fans, David did just that on Friday. On top of the speed that David showed, he also demonstrated outstanding football IQ, and reaction with his interception off Moore. While judging performances off a pre-season game is very risky, I think that it is safe to say that the Buccaneers got a steal with their second round pick.
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