Tampa Bay Buccaneers Time for another season of ‘Get Lavonte David into the Pro Bowl’ among many deserving others on the Bucs roster this year. Vote inside! Carmen Vitali
And you thought you were done with voting? Think again. This time, it's to give your favorite Buccaneers a Pro Bowl selection and so help me, it better start with inside linebacker Lavonte David.
There won't be a Pro Bowl game this year due to COVID-19 concerns, but the selection is still happening and it's still a means of individual recognition for deserving players. This year, as the Buccaneers stand well above .500 and have contention hopes in the NFC, there are more than a few players that deserve said recognition. Let's go through the cases for a few, shall we?
_ILB Lavonte David_
I said this should start with David and I meant it. He has gone criminally overlooked in years past, with only one Pro Bowl selection to his name. It's insane to think that a player who leads the NFL in solo tackles (766) since he got into the league in 2012, has recorded the third-most tackles for loss of any player with 122 in that span and became one of only two players in NFL history to record 1,000 tackles, 20.0 sacks and 10 interceptions though their first eight seasons isn't a perennial Pro Bowler.
But alas, that is the case and that stops this year if you all have anything to do with it. David is having yet another David-like year in 2020, leading a top five defense that ranks first against the run and third in yards per play allowed through Week 10. He had a season-high 11 tackles in the season opener against the Saints, had 1.5 sacks on one of the least-sacked quarterbacks in the league during Week Six's win over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. He also nabbed himself an interception and has recovered two fumbles so far in 2020. Plus, he's a top-five linebacker in solo tackles because he's legitimately everywhere on the field.
David did receive some recognition in the beginning of the season, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors for September. Let's keep that recognition train going and get David his second Pro Bowl selection. Deal?
_QB Tom Brady_
I mean. Obviously. Brady is perhaps the most well-known football player on the planet and he's brought the spotlight with him to Tampa. He may be the reason for more recognition of Buccaneer players this year, but he deserves recognition all his own.
Brady is having a banner year in 2020 even by Brady standards. He has 23 passing touchdowns so far this year, which is one shy of his season total from 2019. He has three rushing touchdowns to add to that, which is one off from his single-season career high. Brady currently has his highest completion percentage since his 2017 All-Pro and Pro Bowl season. He's on pace for his highest yard total (4,382) since that season and most touchdowns since 2011 (37). He won both NFC Offensive Player of the Week and FedEx Air Player of the Week in Week Four. He won NFC Offensive Player of the Month in October. And he's doing it all with a brand-new team for the first time in 20 years. If that isn't worth another Pro Bowl nod (it would be Brady's 15th selection), I don't know what is.
_Left Guard Ali Marpet, Center Ryan Jensen and Right Tackle Tristan Wirfs_
Can we PLEASE get some offensive linemen recognition for a unit that has ranked in the top 10 in sacks allowed, keeping Brady pretty darn clean all season? They also helped the Bucs' offense to over 200 yards rushing in Week 10 against the Panthers even as left guard Ali Marpet was out with a concussion.
And though offensive line stats are hard to quantify, there's no denying these three are some of the best at their respective positions - even with Wirfs being a rookie. He's gone against some of the league's best pass rushing talent week in and week out and has more than held up his end of the bargain. With as big of a stage as this unit is on, protecting one of the league's all-time quarterbacks, you have to think that recognition is possible and at the very least, it could include Pro Bowl selections.
_ILB Devin White_
In his second year and first as defensive captain, White is leading the Buccaneers in tackles and ranks in the top five in both tackles and games with double-digit tackles across the league. He's as deserving as his inside linebacker counterpart, David, and it hardly seems fair they have to compete with each other for one of the NFC linebacker spots.
_CB Carlton Davis_
Talk about going up against some of the league's top talent and shutting them down. Davis came out of the gate hot, shadowing New Orleans Saints' Michael Thomas and completely taking him out of the game. Thomas had a career-low 17 yards on just three receptions that game. Davis didn't let up from there either, limiting guys like the Chargers' Keenan Allen the Packers' Davante Adams and so on and so forth.
_Wide receiver Mike Evans_
You didn't think I forgot about the Bucs' number one wide receiver who is vying for his third-straight Pro Bowl appearance, did you? It's true that Evans isn't quite on the same pace he has been in years past as far as yardage total but as far as production goes: he's ahead of schedule. Evans is currently tied with Seattle's D.K. Metcalf for fourth-most receiving touchdowns this season (they both have eight). That matches Evans' total from 2019 and it's only through 10 games. It puts him on pace for 13 touchdowns this season, which would be a career high.
This is a guy who has the second-most receiving touchdowns since he got into the league in 2014. In fact, his 56 touchdowns sit four behind teammate Antonio Brown in that span. Evans also just surpassed 500 career catches in his 100th game in Week 10 against the Panthers. He's the first Buccaneer to surpass the 500 mark and he's been the face of the franchise for years when it comes to postseason awards. Let's get him another.
_OLBs Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul_
Speaking of postseason awards, Barrett was among those selected from the Buccaneer roster in 2019 after he led the league with 19.5 sacks. And though he may not be on pace in sacks this year, he ranks second in the league through Week 10 in quarterback pressures with 25. Since 2019, he has the third most of any player behind just Pittsburgh's T.J. Watt and Chargers Joey Bosa.
Pierre-Paul, on the other hand, is tied for sixth in the league in sacks through Week 10. He has 7.5 on the season and notched the third interception of his career in Week 10 against Carolina. The last time Pierre-Paul made a Pro Bowl was in 2012 after registering 6.5 sacks, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble, and interception. Through 10 games in 2020, he has the aforementioned 7.5 sacks, interception, a career-high-matching three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. So uh, yeah. A Pro Bowl selection is warranted.
_Running back Ronald Jones II_
With his 192-yard performance in Week 10 during which he ran for a 98-yard touchdown (the longest offensive score in team history), Jones ranks third in rushing yards across the league through Week 10 and has surpassed his rushing total from 2019. He's on pace for nearly 1,200 yards this season, which would mark his first 1,000-yard rushing season and the Bucs' first 1,000-yard rusher since Doug Martin in 2015. He even earned Good Morning Football's 'Angry Runs' scepter this season in Week Three. That should automatically mean a Pro Bowl bid, right?
_Defensive Lineman Ndamukong Suh_
Suh is yet another vested veteran that is having a resurgent season. Though his stats, like offensive linemen, are a little harder to quantify, Suh has been an integral part of the Bucs' top-ranked rushing defense. Especially in the absence of Vita Vea, Suh has stepped up on the interior and hasn't missed a beat. He has four sacks this season in 10 games, which surpasses his 2019 total, he's also forced a fumble and is on pace for 19 quarterback hits this season, which would be his most since he was with the Rams in 2018 and would be the third-most he's had in a single season.
See? Plenty of choices. So go ahead and vote for your favorite Bucs and give them the feathers of a Pro Bowl selection in their Buccaneer caps.