As the likelihood of a new collective bargaining agreement inches closer and close, we can actually start looking at potential free agent signings. A player I think is the possibility for the Jacksonville Jaguars is a linebacker who I think would slide right in and be a perfect fit for the Jaguars defense. Barrett Ruud of the Tampa Bay Buccaneersis probably going to be one of, if not the top, free agent linebackers on the market. He's just turned 28 years old and still has a lot of football in front of him. He'd likely come at a hefty price, but the Jaguars linebacking situation is almost as bad as the safety position right now, given who's actually under contract.
Sander over at BucsNation.com gives us a breakdown on Barrett Ruud.
Ruud is a bit of a polarizing figure among Bucs fans. Some see him as an ineffectual tackler who can't get off blocks, while others see him as a reliable field general. Ruud is best in coverage. He has the instincts to work well in zone coverage and the speed to cover the deep middle of the field, which is a necessity for a Tampa 2 Middle Linebacker. In run defense he's less competent. He struggles to get off blocks, and he's a drag-down tackler with little hitting power. He also struggles against running backs in space. At the same time, though, he makes a lot of tackles each year and the porous defensive line makes him look worse than he really is. He's always in the right position and doesn't blow assignments, and could excel as a run defender behind a competent defensive line.
Ruud's best assets are his intelligence and knowledge of the game. He's run the defense these past two seasons, and coaches rave about his ability to diagnose plays before the snap and make the necessary adjustments.