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Buccaneers 2011 Draft Picks: Tampa Bay Takes Mason Foster in the Third Round

With the 84th overall pick of the 2011 draft, the Buccaneers have selected Mason Foster. In the third round this linebacker out of Washington represented tremendous value. He's not the best athlete at the position, and he's not a pass rusher, but he's one of the most instinctive linebackers in the draft. He is constantly around the ball, does a good job getting around blocks, tackles well and always finds the football. He's a linebacker you can plug in and not worry about for the next 10 years. He can play both inside and outside, but because he isn't a good pass rusher he'd likely play Middle Linebacker or Weak Side Linebacker for the Buccaneers.

The only downside: he's not the best run stopper, and the Bucs are weakest against the run. He doesn't do a good job shedding blocks, but does do a great job getting around blocks to get to the ball carrier. He has forced 8 fumbles throughout his career, and he's a physical tackler. His instincts should make up for some physical deficiencies, and NFL coaching should improve him as well. The one thing that always stands about him is that he's constantly around the football, and it showed in the statistics as he was the leading tackler in the nation.

Mason Foster isn't unlike Barrett Ruud and this will annoy some people, but he's a more physical and aggressive player than Ruud. He'll be more like the 2007 and 2008 version of Ruud than the '09 and '10 versions that provoked so much controversy.