2012 NFL Draft: What the Bucs Can Expect from LB Lavonte David

Knox Bardeen@knoxbardeenNFC South Lead WriterMay 9, 2012

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 29: Fullback Todd Anderson #42 of the Michigan State Spartans tries to slip the grip of linebacker Lavonte David #4 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during their game at Memorial Stadium October 29, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Michigan State 24-3. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Lavonte David put in quite a career in just two years at Nebraska. After transferring from Fort Scott Community College, he made the most of the time he had at the FBS level.

David finished with 285 career tackles for the Cornhuskers, ranking him as the fourth-best tackler in Nebraska history.

He was a first-team All-American in 2010, a Butkus Award finalist in 2011 and Nebraska’s team MVP his senior season. If he was a little bigger, he might have been able to crack the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Tampa Bay found a great value in David at pick No. 58 overall. Just about every analyst called him a “tackling machine” who has a constant motor, something the Buccaneers could really find helpful on defense.

The Bucs sent two picks to Houston to move up to acquire David. While some fans have disagreed with this move, it’s hard to deny picking up this kind of talent at the end of Round 2.

Derrick Brooks, a former star linebacker for Tampa, has already endorsed David. “They feel he can play well in spaces. He's a high character guy,” said Brooks (via nfl.com). “I've heard he wants to mold his game after me. I can't wait to meet the young man."

Brooks knows a thing or two about being labeled as undersized. At 6'0" and 235 pounds, Brooks managed to make the Pro Bowl 11 times and win a Super Bowl during his career. David is just an inch taller and two pounds lighter than Brooks, so he’s in good company.

Drafting David stiffens the competition at weakside linebacker in Tampa. Mike Mayock said, “"If I was Adam Hayward I'd be a little nervous right now,” after the Bucs moved up for another linebacker.

Mel Kiper, Jr. said he’ll be "great as a weakside linebacker for the Bucs."

Greg Schiano has been trying all of his linebackers out at different positions in mini-camp so far, but David looks like a front-runner. 

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