MVP replacements: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
12:00
PM ET
Whether it's a marquee QB or an interior defensive lineman, no team can afford to lose its most valuable player.

So, who steps in if the unfathomable happens? Our NFL Nation reporters and Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl have teamed up to identify each team's most important player and which player in the 2014 draft each team can target to groom as a potential replacement -- MVP insurance. For some teams, their future stars may be slightly younger than others as draft-eligible non-seniors are denoted with an asterisk.

McCoy
McCoy
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have two legitimate candidates as their MVP.

You can’t go wrong with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy or linebacker Lavonte David. Both are among the best players in the league at their positions.

But I can only pick one MVP here, and I’m going with McCoy. My logic is simple. Losing David to injury, or for any other reason, wouldn’t be good -- but the Bucs could plug in another linebacker and at least get by.

The same can’t be said about McCoy. If the Bucs were to lose him, it would be devastating. The drop-off from McCoy to his backups is so great that the Bucs opted not to rotate McCoy last season. He played about 90 percent of the defensive snaps, and turned in a Pro Bowl season.

McCoy is a do-it-all defensive tackle. He plays the run well and he rushes the passer, leading the Bucs with nine sacks last season. After dealing with injuries in the first two years of his career, McCoy has been healthy the past two seasons.

When healthy, McCoy has shown he can be a dominant player. David also is dominant. But good defensive play starts up front, and that’s why McCoy is the cornerstone of Tampa Bay’s defense.

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