After hiring Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator in 2019, the Buccaneers defense transitioned from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 system. This change led to an exciting season for the team’s defense and also led to the breakout of some Bucs defenders. Despite the lack of team success throughout the 2010s, the Buccaneers still managed to have some solid defenses in both systems. Bucs fans were grateful to see a few all-time Buccaneer defenders play for the team throughout this decade. For their contributions to the team, they will be honored on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2010s All-Decade Team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2010s All-Decade Team: Defense
Linebacker: Lavonte David (2012-present)
Lavonte David is the easiest selection for the Buccaneers All-Decade Team. David has been the heart and soul of the Bucs defense since his rookie season in 2012. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015, was a first-team All-Pro in 2013, as well as a second-team All-Pro in 2016. It is impossible to think of the 2010 Buccaneers without thinking of Lavonte David. For that reason, he is beloved by fans in Tampa Bay. David is a potential future ring of honor member with the Bucs and a future Hall of Fame member.
David has endured five coaching changes during his time with the team and has acted as one of the only constant figures for the Buccaneers throughout the past decade. He will be remembered in Tampa Bay as an all-time great Buccaneer and is an easy candidate for the Buccaneers All-Decade Team.
Linebacker: Kwon Alexander (2015-2018)
As a former fourth-round pick in 2015, Kwon Alexander had a short but impactful career with the Buccaneers. He started 46 games with the team over four years and was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2017. Alexander was an extremely fast coverage linebacker and paired well alongside Lavonte David in the Bucs linebacker corps. Unfortunately for Buccaneers’ fans, Alexander’s career with the team was short-lived. After suffering an ACL injury in 2018, he signed with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent the following off-season. Despite only being with the team for a short time, Alexander is deserving of being on the Bucs All-Decade Team. He was an exciting, Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker during his time with the Buccaneers.
Linebacker: Shaquil Barrett (2019-present)
As mentioned before, the hiring of Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator meant that the Bucs shifted to a 3-4 defense. This meant the need for edge rushers from the outside linebacker position. Prior to the 2019 season, the Buccaneers signed outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett as a free agent. In his first season with the team, Barrett went on to break the franchise single-season sack record with an astonishing 19.5 sacks. In an amazing feat, Barrett was able to surpass Bucs legend Warren Sapp for the most single-season sacks as a Buccaneer. Barrett was subsequently named to the Pro Bowl and also earned second-team All-Pro honors. Despite only playing a single season with the Bucs during the 2010s, Barrett’s record-setting season was enough to land him on the Buccaneers All-Decade Team.
Defensive Tackle: Gerald McCoy (2010-2018)
Much like fellow teammate Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy is an all-time Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Drafted third overall by the Buccaneers in 2010, Mccoy went on to play eight seasons with the team, starting 123 games. Throughout his tenure with the team, McCoy has accumulated a number of accolades to his name. He is a six-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first-team All-Pro, and was a second-team All-Pro in 2016.
McCoy was one of the premier defensive tackles throughout the league in the past decade, and one of the best players in the NFL. Despite being on many sub-par Buccaneers teams throughout his career, he remained a constant figure on the team, acting as the gold standard for Buccaneers players in the 2010s. McCoy is a future Hall of Famer, and Buccaneers Ring of Honor member. He might be the easiest candidate for the Buccaneers All-Decade Team.
Defensive End: William Gholston (2013-present)
William Gholston is currently one of the longest-tenured Buccaneers and has been a solid run-stopping presence with the team. A 2013 fourth-round pick of the Buccaneers, Gholston has played 103 games for the team. Primarily a rotational run blocker, Gholston has earned his spot on the All-Decade Team due to his longevity and consistency with the team. He may not be a flashy sack-machine like his teammate Shaquil Barrett, but Gholston has provided the Buccaneers with stability on their defensive front. Because of this, Gholston has earned his spot on the Buccaneers All-Decade Team.
Defensive Back: Ronde Barber (1997-2012)
Perhaps the greatest defensive back in Buccaneers’ history, Ronde Barber only played three seasons with the team in the 2010s. Despite this, those three solid seasons combined with Barber’s impact on those teams were enough to earn him a spot on the Bucs All-Decade Team. Barber started every game in those three seasons, and hauled in 10 interceptions, playing both cornerback and free safety in the final year of his career. Barber is beloved by Bucs fans for his long career with the team. His contributions in the 2010s were enough to find him on the All-Decade Team.
Defensive Back: Aqib Talib (2008-2012)
Similar to Ronde Barber, Aqib Talib only played three seasons with the Buccaneers in the past decade. However , over those three seasons, Talib was one of the top cornerbacks in the league. Former 2008 first-round pick by the Bucs, the team drafted Talib with hopes of him being their next Ronde Barber. On the field, Talib was one of the most dynamic cornerbacks in the NFL during the early 2010s. Unfortunately for Bucs fans, Talib had a messy departure with the team. He was traded to the New England Patriots in 2012, largely due to off-field issues with the team. Despite being short-lived, Talib was still an elite cornerback during his time with the Bucs. This makes him ultimately deserving of his spot on the All-Decade Team.