The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the best linebacker duo in the NFL in Lavonte David and Devin White, and it’s primarily due to the fact that these two complement each other perfectly on the field. Simply put, it’s a match made in heaven.
For a while in the NFL, it looked like there was a changing of the guard as far as team-building was concerned. The league has become more and more pass-happy as the years go by, and opposing defenses adjusted as such.
In the case of the linebacker position, it appeared that “the quarterbacks of the defense” weren’t nearly as valuable as they once were. Most of the interest seemed to be on outside linebackers who can wreak havoc and create bad days for opposing quarterbacks, as 3-4 defenses remain popular. Most teams feature three cornerbacks in their base defense, a “pure” or “natural” linebacker, and a second linebacker that is essentially a converted and larger safety. These adjustments in defenses were made in response to the pass-heavy NFL.
Then Super Bowl LV happened.
The Buccaneers 2020 Super Bowl run of course was assisted by a little ballplayer by the name of Tom Brady at quarterback, but make no mistake about it, this was about the Bucs defense. They essentially retired Drew Brees, drove Aaron Rodgers out of Green Bay, and are currently living in the nightmares of Patrick Mahomes. Two of the biggest reasons for this were linebackers, Lavonte David and Devin White. The Buccaneers were basically the only team in the league with two bonafide stud linebackers, and it resulted in a championship.
In the Super Bowl, they jumped off the screen. White lead all players with eight solo tackles (twelve total), while David was tied for second of all players with six solo tackles. White also added in the interception late in the game that proved to be the Super Bowl dagger. They were flying around the ball all night and could have easily won the co-MVPs of the game.
The primary reason for the success of these two linebackers is how they complement each other in every possible way. For starters, there’s the fact that David, the longest-tenured Buc, is the grizzled veteran while White is his young mentor. Their numbers are even complimentary. They wear the same number just mirrored. Then of course there’s this:
The answer to your question Pro Football Focus is yes.
Pass rushing and coverage. The two primary jobs of linebackers. One is tops in the NFL in one aspect and the other is tops in the other aspect. We know they can both tackle, we saw it in the Super Bowl.
You simply can not ask for a better duo of linebackers to go together as well as David and White. They are the heart in the middle of the beast that is the Buccaneers defense, and with David aging like fine wine and White appearing to do the same, that spells bad news for the rest of the NFL.
We mentioned how the Bucs have the best wide receiver duo in football, and we can add the best linebacker duo in the game to that as well.