Nebraska LB Barrett Ruud racked up 432 tackles in 50 career college games
The last time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted a linebacker in the first two rounds was 1995. That one worked out fairly well.
The Bucs latest high-round 'backer is Barrett Ruud of Nebraska, who comes to Tampa via the fourth pick in the second round of the 2005 draft. Ruud joins a group led by that '95 first-rounder, Derrick Brooks.
Brooks and the Buccaneers' coaching staff are likely to appreciate Ruud, who plays with an all-out intensity befitting his deep football roots. His father, Tom Ruud, was a first-round draft pick in 1975 who played five years with the Buffalo Bills. Tom Ruud also played at Nebraska (as did two of Barrett's uncles and his great grandfather) and was coached by current Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin.
The 6-3, 241-pound Ruud is instinctive on the field and easily makes adjustments, which should help him in the Buccaneers' active defense. His remarkable consistency is reflected in his stats from the past two seasons – 149 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2003 and 143 tackles and three sacks in 2004.
Ruud played in 50 games with 37 starts over four seasons in Nebraska, amassing 432 tackles, seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown), eight sacks, one interception and 50 tackles for loss. He was a consensus first-team all-conference pick as a senior and was the Cornhuskers' team MVP.
Ruud joins a Buccaneer linebacking crew that lost starting strongside 'backer Ian Gold in March. He could compete with Marquise Walker (a third-round pick last year), Jeff Gooch and Ryan Nece for a starting spot, but he will almost certainly contribute immediately as a special teams player and defensive reserve.
Buccaneers.com will provide more information on Ruud following the linebacker's conference call.