2012 NFL Mock Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select...

LINCOLN NE - OCTOBER 16: Running back Tre' Newton #23 of the Texas Longhorns gets wrapped up by linebacker Lavonte David #4 and cornerback Prince Amukamara #21 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during second half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on October 16 2010 in Lincoln Nebraska. Texas Defeated Nebraska 20-13. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Representing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Falcon58 with the 36th pick in the Arrowhead Pride 2012 NFL mock draft...

Mark Dominik sits in the War Room with a big decision. The first round was easier. Claiborne was the obvious pick. He was an obvious need. The second round is different. The team has several needs. The words of former head coach Raheem Morris seem to echo in his mind: "This team needs to be more explosive on offense." And yet, Dominik thinks: "We're missing something on defense. We've been missing something for a while." The decision comes down to two positions: Running Back and Linebacker. Doug Martin from Boise State is sitting out there. He's arguably the second best running back in this year's draft. He'd be a great pairing with LeGarrette Blount and would give Josh Freeman more security in the backfield. Then the words of BucsNation member RookTakesYou run through Dominik's brain: "Voted for Lavonte David because I think that quality linebackers will end up going much faster than quality RBs in round two." (Because obviously team general manager's always read SBNation blogs.)

And with that, we have our pick: Lavonte David, OLB from Nebraska.

In perusing the various scouting reports on David, they all mention the same things: Speed, quickness, agility, motor, solid tackler, and great in coverage. He fits in perfectly as a weak-side linebacker in a 4-3 style defense. He's got the range and closing ability to cover running backs and tight-ends. He can play the pass and the run. Possibly the greatest compliment paid to him is that he's been compared to the last great Tampa Bay linebacker... the legend that is Derrick Brooks. And this is what Tampa's been missing for several years now. They've been missing Derrick Brooks. Now they have a chance to draft a player that can finally replace him.

David has his weaknesses though. His most glaring weakness is his size. At 6'1", 225 pounds, David is not quite as big as most teams would like. It's the only reason he slipped to the 2nd round of the draft. He's got shorter arms and smaller hands than what is considered ideal. Yet, he plays through this and doesn't believe it's a detriment to his ability. He might struggle, but he's going to play through it and he's going to make the play. That's just the kind of guy, Lavonte David is. In 2011, he made play after play, but none was probably bigger than the strip fumble recovery against Ohio State that ‘saved the season.' Down by 21 points in the second half, David killed a Ohio State drive by simply reaching out and taking the football away from the quarterback as he was spinning toward the ground on a 1st down run. The Huskers went on to win that game 34-27.

Lavonte David will be a huge asset to the Tampa Bay defense. He'll make the team better on special teams as well. There might be a few other linebackers still available that could be argued to be a better fit or as good a fit as David. But David is the right call. He's smart, he's opportunist, and he plays with passion. This guy IS everything you want in a football player.

And for your viewing pleasure: The Comeback.

The Comeback - Nebraska Vs. Ohio State 2011 (via AdrenalineRush420)


Previously (with approval results)...

1. Indianapolis Colts - Baylor QB Robert Griffin III (42%)

2. Washington Redskins - Stanford QB Andrew Luck (72%)

3. Minnesota Vikings - USC OT Matt Kalil (89%)

4. Cleveland Browns - Alabama RB Trent Richardson (70%)

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - LSU CB Morris Claiborne (84%)

6. St. Louis Rams - Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon (91%)

7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Stanford G David DeCastro (33%)

8. Miami Dolphins - Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill (73%)

9. Carolina Panthers - South Carolina LB/DE Melvin Ingram (Forgot to do a poll)

10. Buffalo Bills - Stanford OT Jonathan Martin (73%)

11. Kansas City Chiefs - LSU DT Michael Brockers (35%)

12. Seattle Seahawks - Boston College LB Luke Kuechly (66%)

13. Arizona Cardinals - Iowa T Riley Reiff (88%)

14. Dallas Cowboys - North Carolina DE Quinton Coples (68%)

15. Philadelphia Eagles - Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox (79%)

16. New York Jets - Alabama DE/LB Courtney Upshaw (83%)

17. Cincinnati Bengals - Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd (68%)

18. San Diego Chargers - Penn State DT Devon Still (42%)

19. Chicago Bears - Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick (51%)

20. Tennessee Titans - South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore (63%)

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Georgia OL Cordy Glenn (64%)

22. Cleveland Browns - Arizona QB Nick Foles (21%)

23. Detroit Lions - Alabama S Mark Barron (67%)

24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Memphis NT Dontari Poe (62%)

25. Denver Broncos -- Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy (64%)

26. Houston Texans -- Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill (68%)

27. New England Patriots - North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins

28. Green Bay Packers - Illinois OLB/DE Whitney Mercilus

29. Baltimore Ravens - LSU WR Rueben Randle

30. San Francisco 49ers - Stanford TE Coby Fleener

31. New England Patriots - USC OLB Nick Perry

32. New York Giants - Baylor WR Kendall Wright

33. St. Louis Rams - Ohio State LT Mike Adams

34. Indianapolis Colts - South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery

35. Minnesota Vikings - Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower

36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Nebraska LB Lavonte David

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