The Bucs spent their 3rd round pick on Washington’s Mason Foster, a very talented tackling machine out of Washington. As if that pick didn’t seem foreboding enough for current Bucs MLB Barrett Ruud (who is approaching free agency when the league resumes business), now the St. Pete Times’ Stephen Holder is reporting that the Bucs plan to use Foster in the middle of their defense.
But here’s a window into the Bucs’ thinking on Foster: They intend to use him as a middle linebacker. That’s the team’s intent right now, and it doesn’t bode well for Barrett Ruud. We can’t say that any decision has been made on Ruud, who will be a free agent whenever the NFL re-opens for business.
But here’s the thing: At minimum, even if the Bucs intend to re-sign Ruud, they had to protect themselves against losing him on the open market. By selecting Foster, the Bucs feel they’ve done that.
It’s no secret that while Ruud is a talented player, he’s far from a fan favorite in Tampa. Personally, I think he would actually do well playing behind the Bucs newly-formed defensive front four, most of his problem stemmed from being unable to get off blocks, but he lacks the verbal presence on the field I want out of a linebacker. Ruud isn’t a rah-rah type of leader, the Bucs are lacking that and even if it’s not fair, I look to the middle linebacker to fill that role in most situations as the de facto leader of the defense. Maybe Ruud will be back anyways, but I’m ready to try to someone else out in the middle.