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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Da'Quan Bowers, Mason Foster, And The Tampa Bay Bucs

With their second and third round picks last night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to further shore up their defensive line. They selected defensive end Da'Quan Bowers with their second round pick, and took linebacker Mason Foster in the third round. Both these players are marked defensive upgrades for the Bucs, and should help their team immediately.

Da'Quan Bowers: Many analysts had Bowers going to the Bucs' in the first round of the NFL Draft, so he's quite the steal to grab in the second round. Bowers has tremendous upside and is ranked as a top 10 talent at defensive end, but injury concerns caused him to drop this low in the draft. According to Bucs Nation:

The problem is that Da'Quan Bowers has a pretty bad knee injury. Reportedly he has no cartilage in his knee and will need microfracture surgery at some point in the future. There are questions whether he'll even play out his rookie contract. Was the second round the right place to take that risk, that's the question.

The Bucs decided Bowers was worth a gamble as a second round pick, and I can't blame them as Bowers has the upside of being a truly impact player on defense. I love that the Bucs were able to get a premium talent this late in the draft, so I'm going to give them an "A" for this pick.

Mason Foster: After taking a risky, upside pick in the second round, the Bucs decided to go with more of a sure thing in the third round. Foster isn't a sexy pick and he isn't going to light the world on fire with his play, but he's a solid, athletic linebacker and should fit in well with the Bucs' current defensive line. He's not the best run-stopper, but he is constantly around the ball and has very good instincts. He'll do his job and fit in well, but he doesn't have the same sort of upside that Bower has.

Without context, I'd give Foster a "B" grade, as he's solid and dependable. In the context of the Bucs' other picks in the draft, though, that probably deserves to be higher as he's a low-risk player to off set some of the risk the Bucs are taking on with Bowers and Clayborn.

Keep checking back with SB Nation Tampa Bay for the latest news and analysis surrounding the Bucs' moves in the NFL Draft.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.