Linebacker Lavonte David hasn’t gotten the attention of some of the Buccaneers’ other new parts, but he has impressed in his short time there.
And tonight, they’ll get a good barometer of how the second-round pick from Nebraska will hold up to a frequent challenge.
The Bucs have put the rookie weakside linebacker in their nickel package, and will use him in coverage often. Tonight against the Patriots, that means Rob Gronkowski and/or Aaron Hernandez.
But that’s just the beginning of it for David, per Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times.
The Bucs will have six games a year in their division against teams with legitimate big-play tight ends Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Greg Olsen.
So David’s ability to drop into coverage will be as much of a key to slowing down that part of the game plan as safeties Mark Barron and Ronde Barber. Tonight will give an indication of how ready he is for that test.