TAMPA — In order to successfully run the Tampa 2 defense as its base scheme, a football team has to have two things.
The first is a defensive tackle who can penetrate the line of scrimmage and get to the quarterback, and the other is a weakside linebacker who can make plays from sideline to sideline.
The Bucs have both in two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and weakside linebacker Lavonte David, whom ProFootballFocus believes are among the five best players in the league, regardless of position.
PFF released its list of the top 101 players in the league today and McCoy came in at No. 4 overall, right behind Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, while David came in at No. 5.
PFF’s rankings are based on an in-house grading system and determined that McCoy was “a wrecking ball’’ last year despite having little help around him save for that offered by David.
David was the top-ranked linebacker on the list, and based on the 83 overall defensive stops he made last year, which were 21 more than the next-best 4-3 outside linebacker, he should have been, PFF said.
The only other Bucs players to make the list were defensive end Michael Johnson (83) and Alterraun Verner (93).