Like the rest of his teammates, Buccaneers MLB Barrett Ruud didn't exactly take off in former defensive coordinator Jim Bates' scheme, but the team's defense has improved since head coach Raheem Morris stepped in and implemented a system that more appropriately fit his personnel. It has been a rough year for everyone involved in Tampa. Ruud, however, is among the league leaders in tackles with 125 and he's an undisputed leader of a young corps of players on "D." There were reports early in the season that Ruud, who will be a free agent in March, and the Bucs were discussing a long-term contract extension, but those talks have yet to amount to a new deal. Ruud will be a restricted free agent unless the owners and the player's union settle on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before March, and observers in Tampa expect the team to make sure Ruud is back next season.
PFW has launched its brand-new NFL Draft Newsletter series, with the second issue now ready for mailing. Produced by PFW's player personnel department under the direction of Nolan Nawrocki, the series consists of four information-packed issues. For more info or to subscribe — click here for PDF e-pub or here for print format.