After moving up in the 2nd round to select fan favorite Lavonte David, the Bucs selected West Virginia linebacker Najee Goode in the 5th round. The 6’1″, 240 lb. linebacker moves well for his thick build, playing both middle and outside linebacker positions for the Mountaineers. Goode ended 2011 with 87 tackles, 14 of those for a loss. He added 1 interception, 1 fumble return and 5 sacks. His motor and run stopping prowess had him pegged as a guy who would be a specialist, but soon teams realized he could be an every down player. The following was reported by Mike Casazza with the Charleston Daily Mail at Goode’s pro day.
“Given a second chance last month at the pro day at WVU, a healthy Goode impressed. Teams began to take a closer look and ask him to do certain things to satisfy their own curiosities.”
“The Jacksonville scout asked him to work out with the defensive backs,” John Goode said. “Then (Coach) Lovie Smith and the G.M. for Chicago (Phil Emery) looked over out of the corner of their eyes and saw he moved pretty well and they segued over.
“Then (Steelers Coach) Mike Tomlin segued over. Then Detroit and Carolina and Indianapolis liked what they saw and segued over.”
In the past three weeks, Najee has visited Indianapolis and Cleveland and met Jacksonville personnel in Morgantown.
“The interest has been increasing over the last two weeks because I think teams are realizing – as a matter of fact, I know they’re realizing – you don’t have to take him off the field on third down,” John said. “He covers real well. The Clemson (Orange Bowl) game, he shut down their tight end and it wasn’t a fluke.”
Goode fits right in with the new direction the Bucs want to follow. After plenty of tape displaying a lack of basic fundamentals last season, the Bucs now have Mason Foster, Lavonte David and Goode, all players whom are tackle machines. Considered by scouts to be a MLB in the NFL, Goode could allow Foster to move back outside in run situations. At minimum, the pick adds needed depth to the unit, allowing Schiano to mix personnel packages instead of staying with the same group by default. A luxury the Bucs have not had in years.