2014 Pro Bowl Roster: 5 Reasons Lavonte David Deserved More Votes
5 Reasons Lavonte David Deserved More Votes
With the 2014 Pro Bowl selections announced, there were plenty of surprises and snubs up and down the roster. One of the biggest surprises of the voting processs, however, has to be linebacker Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being completely overlooked. As one of the young defensive stars in the NFL this season, David played well enough to be recognized as a Pro Bowler and will go down as one of the biggest snubs of the season.
David followed up a strong rookie season in 2012 with an even better campaign in 2013. He was at the center of a vastly improved Tampa defense this season and became a more complete defensive player in 2013 as he landed near the top of the statistic leaderboard in the NFL. Few defensive players had the impact that David had this season and yet he somehow didn't make the cut when it came to the Pro Bowl selection process.
While there will be plenty more opportunities for David in the future to make it to a Pro Bowl as he continues to develop his game as a defensive star, that shouldn't get in the way of rewarding what has been an excellent 2013 season. Looking at David's body of work this year, it's hard to understand how he didn't make it into the Pro Bowl. Teammate Mark Barron lashed out when the rosters were announced and he was justified. Davis has arguably been the best linebacker in football this season but somehow couldn't crack the vote to make the Pro Bowl.
It's one of the unfortunate oversights that makes it difficult to take the Pro Bowl seriously. When the best players get left at home, it damages the quality of the game and the integrity of the selection process. With that said, here are five reasons that Lavonte David deserved more votes for the 2014 Pro Bowl.
5. Improved Tampa Bay Defense
In 2012, Tampa was weighed down by one of the worst defenses in the NFL, ranking No. 29 in yards allowed. This season, they have jumped up the rankings, improving the No. 13 in yards allowed thanks in large part to the leadership and breakout season of David at linebacker. He's been at the center of the defensive renaissance in Tampa this season and deserves more of the credit in the Pro Bowl vote.
4. Improvement from Rookie Season
David has made huge strides in his game in year two in the NFL. During his rookie year, he made plenty of tackles, but didn't make a major impact in the pass rush or with turnovers. As a second-year starter, David has become a more complete player, creating negative plays with sacks, quarterback pressures, and turnovers in 2013. As a more complete player this season, he's developed into a leader on defense that deserves the recognition of the Pro Bowl.
David has also become a force in the pass rush coming on the blitz for Tampa in 2013, recording six sacks this season after just one sack in his entire rookie season. Creating the pressure on the quarterback this season has added a whole new element to his game that he will only continue to develop in the coming years to be a force of nature in opposing backfields.
Part of the growth of David's game has been his ability to create turnovers from the linebacker position. This season, David has five interceptions, tied for fourth in the league this season and second among linebackers, to go along with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Creating those quick changes in momentum for the Bucs with turnovers has been a huge boost to the defensive turnaround this season in Tampa.
David has truly developed into one of the best tacklers in football in just his second season. His 137 tackles this season rank No. 5 in the NFL as he leads the team on defense this season, getting in on plays sideline to sideline. He's become a leader on defense with a nose for making plays as well as just about anyone in the league right now. That kind of playmaker deserves more credit for his accomplishments when it comes to Pro Bowl votes.