The second day of the 2011 NFL Draft has come to an end, and the Buccaneers have added two more players: LB Mason Foster out of Washington and DE Da'Quan Bowers out of Clemson. In Bowers they got a top-5 talent with some major injury concerns. While there have been reports that Bowers' knee injury is a degenerative injury, Bucs GM Mark Dominik denied those reports. This injury has to be significant, though, because a top 5 talent does not fall to the middle of the second round if his knee is going to be fine in two months. Still, the Buccaneers took Bowers at a spot where they felt it was a reasonable risk to take, and we'll see how the injury situation plays out. It's possible Bowers doesn't see the field for the Buccaneers in his first year as they treat the knee. It's also possible that he plays all 16 games, right now we just don't know enough about his injury.
The other draftee was Mason Foster, an instinctive linebacker who is always around the football. He's not the fastest, most flexible or strongest linebacker, but he's a football player: he understands angles to the football, he's a physical tackler, he's aggressive attacking the run downhill and he just finds the football. He's also very versatile, and could start at both middle linebacker and as weak side linebacker. The Buccaneers say they can see him rushing the passer from the strong side as well, but I don't think that's a role in which he'd excel. He'd be at his best in the middle or on the weak side, where he can roam and find the football.
Interestingly enough, the Buccaneers were the only NFC South Team with a second-round pick today. The Carolina Panthers traded theirs away last year to the Patriots so they could pick WR/QB Armanti Edwards. The Atlanta Falcons traded their second round pick away to the Cleveland Browns along with a host of other picks so they could take Julio Jones in the first round. The Saints, then, traded away their second-round pick along with next year's first round pick to the Patriots to take Mark Ingram. I love that these teams do this, because trading away future draft picks for current draft picks always represents terrible value. But that's beside the point, hit the jump to see what the Panthers, Falcons and Saints did with their third-round picks.
The Panthers had two third-round picks: the first and the last pick of the third round. The latter is a compensatory pick they received for letting Peppers walk and play for the Bears. So with the first pick of the third round, they selected DT Terrell McClain out of USF. And with the last pick of the third round, they took DT Fua Sione out of Stanford. The Panthers clearly want to rebuild their defensive line, and that's sorely needed. Terrell McClain is a big guy who can make an impact as a pass rusher but struggles to play with the right leverage. Sione Fua is the opposite: plays with good leverage and is a force against the run, but won't make an impact as a pass rusher. The combination of the two creates a good inside pair for the Panthers.
The New Orleans Saints also had two selections in the third round, having received a third-round pick for OT Jammal Brown from the Redskins last season. With their first pick they took LB Martez Wilson out of Illinois. Wilson has the ability to be a dynamic player, who played MLB in college but could work out best as an OLB in the NFL. Wilson is also very raw, though, and doesn't really do a good job quickly reading his keys and finding the football. He's especially weak in coverage. He does have the ability to rush the passer, though, and the Saints are sure to use him a lot in that capability. Gregg Williams loves blitzing, and that's Wilson's strong suit.
With their second third-round pick, the Saints took CB Johnny Patrick out of Louisville. I don't know much about this cornerback, and I really have very little to say about this. He looks like a decent corner, but that's about it.
And finally, the Atlanta Falcons. They only had one third round pick, and decided to take MLB Akeem Dent out of Georgia. I didn't know much about Dent, and when I looked him up on the National Football Post site, here's what I found:
Impression: Lacks ideal power vs. the run and fluidity/range vs. the pass. Doesn't look like an NFL draftable prospect to me.
Well, that doesn't sound good. CBS has a different evaluation, though, and they see him as a solid all-around MLB. Far from elite, but a solid third-round prospect who does everything decently.