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Bucs roundtable: Who has been the Bucs’ best player?

By Times staff
Linebacker Lavonte David (54) is overcome with emotion on the sidelines after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense allowed yet another New Orleans Saints score and the game turned into a blowout during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Jameis Winston is out. Mike Evans missed Sundayís game due to suspension. DeSean Jackson hasnít quite launched and the defense ó at least until Sunday ó hasnít been very good. So who is the Bucsí best player this season?

The Timesí Bucs coverage team weighs in:

Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud: This season there are two candidates, although I would argue defensive tackle Gerald McCoy commands the most respect from opponents. Receiver Mike Evans still is a budding superstar. But he has been a bit inconsistent of late and hurt his team with a suspension. Although he missed some games with an ankle injury, Lavonte David is playing the best football. Heís on fire. Heís making tackles for losses. Forcing fumbles. Recovering fumbles. Pressuring quarterbacks. Too bad he canít play offense.

Greg Auman, @gregauman: No offensive player has been consistent enough to keep pace with David, who has forced and recovered four fumbles already this season. He has set the tone for what the Bucs want their defense to be.

Tom Jones, @tomwjones: This isnít even an argument, is it? Itís David. Granted, this is not a special defense. But David is a special player. A tackling machine and a ball magnet. He consistently makes the sure plays and often makes the splash plays. Heís a bright spot on a team that has had few bright spots this season.

Martin Fennelly, @mjfennelly: David has been the Bucs most consistent player. Maybe itís easy to stand out on a bad defense, but David has been making big plays. If this was about more than this season, Iíd go with Evans. He stills fight double coverage, and the offense is awful, and his touchdowns are down, but the guy is still the best player on this team.

Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you: Iíll answer the question this way: if you allowed the leagueís playoff teams to pick one player from the Bucs roster, they would take McCoy. Evans would be a better choice if youíre building towards future seasons, but if youíre making a playoff push, you want to add the pocket-collapsing presence of McCoy. Heís still a guy offensive coordinators have to account for every week. But it takes more than one brick to build a wall.