Lavonte David: Bucs' D can be 'the best defense ever'

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should garner popularity as a team that could rise to playoff contention in the NFC. Linebacker Lavonte David has even higher goals for the defense.

"I think we can be the best defense ever, to be honest. I'm going to go out there and say it," David said, via the Tampa Bay Times.

David was asked to clarify if he meant best in NFL history or Bucs history -- the 2002 Tampa defense allowed just 12.2 points per game on the way to the Super Bowl. The 26-year-old linebacker selected both.

"Yeah, I'm going to say it. Put it on me. I'm going to say it," he said. "NFL history, Bucs history, anything. That's just the type of attitude we have."

(Insert obligatory offseason eye roll.)

In 2015, the Bucs' defense ranked 26th in the NFL, allowing an average of 26.1 points per game, and was slotted 10th in yards allowed with 340.4 given up per contest.

In the draft, the Bucs used their first two picks on corner Vernon Hargreaves and defensive end Noah Spence. Signing Robert Ayers in free agency should boost a limp pass rush. Tampa will also get talented linebacker Kwon Alexander back after his suspension for the stretch run of last season.

David rattled off his reasons for confidence.

"With Gerald (McCoy), you've got Kwon, you've got Bradley McDougald, you've got Alterraun (Verner), Brent (Grimes), Robert Ayers, Clint (McDonald), that's the attitude we want to have," he said. "We're trying to challenge ourselves."

At the end of the day, pro athletes should believe they can be the best. Otherwise why go through the rigors of competing?

We don't see Tampa's defense penetrating the top end of the rankings, currently held by the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. But they should be better than last season under Lovie Smith, which is a starting place.

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