Overview: Linebackers

TAMPA, Fla. -- We continue our series of position-by-position overviews with the linebackers.

Looking back: After a very strong rookie season, Lavonte David took the next step and became one of the best outside linebackers in the league. David showed a knack for making plays, showing he can drop in coverage and rush the passer. David’s presence made linebacker perhaps the strongest area of the defense. Mason Foster was solid in the middle. The team went back and forth between Dekoda Watson and Jonathan Casillas on the strong side and both were adequate.

Looking ahead: New coach Lovie Smith is a former linebackers coach and he’d be wise to build his defense around this unit. David and Foster should only continue to get better. Watson and Casillas both can become free agents and the Bucs may look for an upgrade on the strong side.