“Develop LeGarrette”

March 9th, 2012

Earnest Graham says the Bucs shouldn't be tempted to give up on LeGarrette Blount

One of the most hotly debated posts on JoeBucsFan.com this year was one this week that featured Bucs veteran Earnest Graham weighing in during a radio interview on the draft value of Alabama running back Trent Richardson. You can read the post here.

After 164 reader comments, some that trashed Graham’s takes, blasted his motives and questioned his football knowledge, Joe heard from No. 34, who wanted to offer up an education on running backs and more.

Joe will share the bulk of Graham’s excellent commentary later, but first Joe will deliver a take from Graham on LeGarrette Blount. It’s similar to the often unpopular drum Joe’s been pounding for months — that the Bucs already have a helluva back and don’t need to use the fifth overall pick on one.

Earnest Graham: The Bucs have LeGarrette Blount who I see being more committed under new staff. Remember that run in Green Bay? Do you see [Trent] Richardson doing that in the NFL? … Possibly. The point is the Bucs have a big strong, athletic back and of course the new guy is always tempting because he is the NEW GUY.


In my eight years I’ve seen a lot of new guys come and go. LeGarrette is a beast and by no stretch of the imagination is he NOT going to get carries if he is on the team. Very few guys can play on all three downs like Steven Jackson. LeGarrette may never. Looking around the league again is it ABSOLUTELY crucial to have a three-down back? Nope. … But LeGarrette is young and it will come.

Very few guys come out the draft ready to protect the blitz packages of Gregg Williams and other top coordinators. It takes a while. There are plenty guys with the skillset to play on third down for the Bucs. They’ll find one and he needs to be experienced in protections as of NOW or you risk losing your franchise QB.

Again, Joe will have much more from Graham later. Really good stuff.

For now, Joe will beat the dead horse again for all the Richardson lovers. The Bucs have a young No. 1 running back with standout talent (yes he can catch the ball) and massive holes at other positions. Drafting Richardson with the fifth overall pick would make Joe bang his head against a wall.

40 Responses to ““Develop LeGarrette””

  1. Meh Says:

    Tolbert maybe?

  2. eric Says:

    Hard to argue with Mr. Graham, thats for sure.

  3. Yar Says:

    “more committed” that says it all for me as far as Blount in the past. If he commits to becoming a pro running back I think he can be very good. The new coaches will demand that commitment or else. Demanding was something that was lacking with the previous coach as was commitment by Blount.

  4. raphael Says:

    Cannot go wrong with Blount and Richardson/Miller. I believe its a 2 back league and please no more Blumpkin. Wouldn’t you rather have 2 dynamic RB’s ? BTW Lamar Miller could be the best back in the draft this year.run-catch -block and runs a 4.3 40.

  5. J 2.0 Says:

    Blount averages 4.5 yards a carry. He was a major reason we went 10-6 2 years ago. The Bucs need to commit to giving him the ball. He averaged around 12 touches a game last year. Touches, not carries. Olson for some reason thought it was a bad idea to run the ball in the red zone. How many time did we cross the 20 just to throw it 3 straight times, usually to a covered Winslow, and settle for a field goal. Give Blount the ball!

  6. Dave Says:

    PLEASE get over Richardson. They are idiots if they spend pick #5 on a RB.

    They could get a fantastic RB with better speed in rounds 2-3 to complement Blount.

    I will wager ANYONE right now that they do not draft Richardson WITH PICK 5.

    (if they trade down and get more picks, fine, take him later, because I bet you anything he will be there around pick 15)

    The reason I would wager is because from what I have seen over the last 2 years is this” Mark Dominick is very smart and knows what he is doing in the draft (along with the whole scouting department).

    I know some of you like to bash the talent, but in 2 years I think it will become evident that the issue was the coaching and the talent is there in many places.

  7. Ed Kerber Says:

    I was originally for drafting Richardson. Then I watched his highlight video: http://youtu.be/JQ6rFi0LK2M . In every run, Richardson starts off too slow. In the NFL, he won’t make it to the line of scrimmage. Trade down for more pics if possible or draft someone else.

  8. flmike Says:

    If the name isn’t Adrian Peterson you don’t draft a RB in the first round.

  9. Bricen Says:

    Did we ever see Blount miss blitzing backers? Did we see him completely f up a route out of the back field? Maybe the old coaches didn’t even try to teach Blount. Could he have been THAT bad in practice as to warrent not even trying him on the field?

  10. Patrick Says:

    What is with the idiots who want Richardson in the first round?? We already have ONE good running back on the roster!! YES, we need another one, but we are currently a very bad team that has SO MANY holes to fill. Noteworthy one being our god awful LB corps. Upgrade an area where we have NO good players, instead of one where we already have a good player!

    Think a little!

  11. gotbbucs Says:

    Richardson won’t go in the top 10, he just won’t. Fans hold RB’s in much higher regard than NFL decision makers. How many more times do we have to go over this? Blackmon has a much better chance of being a top ten pick than Richardson, and I don’t even like Blackmon.

  12. raphael Says:

    @ed kerber good video. that move Richardson did at 5:15 was just awesome. That be said I would rather have Lamar Miller in the 2nd rd.. Richardson benches 450 lbs so he is strong as heck.

  13. Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I agree, we already have one of the top backs in the NFL. We need to concentrate on our O Line opening some holes for him, and feeding him the ball.
    Madu also impresses me, for a change of pace back. Besides, the Miami running back will be available when we pick in the second round, and he has great speed.
    No way we draft Trent Richardson, unless he falls down to us. I see Tampa trading out of the number 5 pick anyway.

  14. Brasho Says:

    I prefer we trade down and take Kuechly and be set at MLB for the next 10-12 years. Even staying at #5, I take Kuechly over Richardson ten out of ten times. A great young MLB is far harder to find than a great young RB…plus the LB will play nearly twice as long. Kuechly all the way.

  15. Have A Nice Day Says:

    Richardson just seems like another Blount to me. Neither is crazy fast and both are strong. I don’t see the point in drafting with our highest pick for a RB that is similar to the one we have.

    I’d take Blount just for his uncanny ability to stay upright amid hordes of unblocked defenders clashing with him at full speed game in game out.

  16. passthebuc Says:

    Graham is much smarter than people give him credit for. His playing days may soon be finished, but his carer in football is just in its beginning stages.
    I believe we can find a good complementary back for Blount in later rounds of the draft. If Clayborn is not available, or, even if he is, consideration should be made to trade down and accumulate picks.

  17. Big Picture Guy Says:

    I remember watching AP at Oklahoma and consistently, game after game, he would break runs that made me think of HOF greats and the college legend himself, Herschel Walker. AP was worth that pick.

    T-Rich is nice, but never once did I ever get that feeling from watching him play. Top 10 picks are waaaaaaaay too valuable with the new rookie pay-scale to waste them on RB’s, who don’t have clear beast type potential.

  18. SensibleBuc Says:

    @ Ed Kerber

    “In every run, Richardson starts off too slow. In the NFL, he won’t make it to the line of scrimmage.”

    With all due respect Ed, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Look at the type of runs he’s making and the blocking scheme. His first few steps (by design) are made laterally which allows him to diagnose where the hole is make his cut and go. Trent is plenty explosive.

  19. Bobby Says:

    Trent Richardson is a beast….period. However, we don’t need him if we can develop Blount and add a back like Doug Martin to compliment him. We are in much more need of of an elite CB or a bad ass MLB. If we can get a defense like the 49’rs and hold opponents to under 15 pts a game then we should have enough offensive fire power to win most games.

  20. Ed Kerber Says:

    @Sensible Buc

    Compare to the highlights to Lamar Miller: http://youtu.be/ZVoKjbx3QC4. My point is not that those runs are designed to move him laterally. It is that to me he doesn’t have the “OMG speed” that would be justify a top-5 pick. Blount has the same moves and we have him pretty cheaply. If Richardson were available in RD 2 or 3 fine. But he won’t be. The same thing happened when we drafted GMC. Compared to Suh, he was a nice player just not a “Great” player. Richardson reminds me of a slightly better Michael Pittman. If the choice is Richardson at 5 or some other player. I suggest some other player. If you can drop down pick up a few more picks and get Richardson, I have no problem with that. I just don’t think he’ll make enough impact on the team at #5.

  21. SensibleBuc Says:

    @Big Picture

    “Top 10 picks are waaaaaaaay too valuable with the new rookie pay-scale to waste them on RB’s, who don’t have clear beast type potential.”

    Disagree. 1st round picks on the whole have actually been devalued hence the phrase “rookie cap”.

    You know how much the #5 pick will make this year? 17-19 million max over four years or roughly 4.5 million per year. You know what the #5 made before the rookie scale? Eric Berry signed a 5 year 60 million dollar deal with 34 million in guarantees meaning he’ll earn anywhere from 6.8 to 12 million per year over the life of his contract.

    An interesting side effect of the rookie cap (to me) is that since the pick has been devalued, teams are freed up to take the best player at whatever position they want while not having to slavishly adhere to the doctrine of grabbing a player at a “premium position” (DE, QB, CB, LT, DT).

    Paying a running back who’ll be nearly at the peak of his powers (still explosive/no wear & tear) upon entering the league a measly 5 million a year is actually MORE palatable under the new Rookie Scale than it was before.

  22. K2theSoldier Says:

    Haha I love when folks try to pass themselves off as talent evaluators. Richardson is EXTREMELY explosive.

  23. K2theSoldier Says:

    And I’m of the belief that taking a running back at the 5th spot is unbelievably stupid, and irresponsible. It won’t happen. We’ll be trading out of the 5th spot. Richardson won’t be a top 10 pick.

  24. Bucnjim Says:

    Good Corner’s are so much harder to find than RB’s. Unless we trade down for additional picks; I think that is the direction the team will go.

  25. crazy Says:

    Was the back the problem or was the 3rd and long offense the problem? The Dolphins had a pretty good 3rd down offense with Csonka and Kiick. Maybe a little more offensive imagination and little better coaching are all that’s needed. Using the 3rd down back as a blocking back pass catcher didn’t work too well last year no matter who the back was.

  26. Capt.Tim Says:

    Blount is probably better than Richardson now.
    I think Mr. Graham is spot in. Iwe needs change of pace guy. Blontslil Buddy from Oregon, in Rd3, will fit nicely

  27. SensibleBuc Says:

    @ Ed

    “It is that to me he doesn’t have the “OMG speed” that would be justify a top-5 pick.”

    Vision, balance, and decisiveness are a running back’s most important assets as long as the back’s physical tools are “adequate” to “good”. Trent’s are pretty damn good. Trent doesn’t need to run 4.3 40 to be a top 5 pick because of his other traits:

    Per ESPN Insider

    “Possesses prototypical size and outstanding straight-line speed for a bigger back.”

    “Not overly elusive in space and change-of-direction skills are adequate-to-good but not elite. However, he’s light on his feet and shows outstanding stop-and-start ability for a bigger back. Can make defenders miss in tight spaces. Displays very good body control when turning the corner as a perimeter runner and can turn on the jets faster than most his size. Shows the ability to stick his foot in the ground and accelerate off the cut. Displays upper-echelon burst through the line of scrimmage and a second-gear to bounce inside runs to the outside once he hits the second level. ”

    “Productive as a pass catcher. Shows reliable hands, can adjust, and flashes ability to pluck on the run. Displays impressive initial straight-line burst after catch for his size. Frequently makes first defender miss (or runs over him). Not overly elusive in space but has second-gear to run away from most LBs and some DBs if he catches a crease. Has experience in slot and split out wide. Knows his assignments in pass pro and keeps head on a swivel. Is aggressive picking up the blitz. Keeps leverage as a blocker and shows savvy mixing in cut blocks. “

  28. Dave Says:

    Richardson might be fantastic, in fact with his balance and power I think he will be very good.

    The problem is everyone is trying to find AP or Steven Jackson – that RB that is out there every down.

    Offense do no work like that anymore and niether do RBs. It is a passing league, you need more than 1 RB, and they need speed. Richardson does not have awesome speed.
    Regardless, grabbing a great CB is MUCH more important and harder to do. Getting a complement to Blount in round 2-3 is easier to do and makes more sense.

  29. JSmalls Says:

    Yeah, RB’s aren’t important. I mean, Bears hit their stride when Forte went down and they let him hit free agency. Ravens are so high on Flacco’s ability to carry the team the didn’t work a deal for Rice. Tavares Jackson played worse the better Marshawn Lynch ran so they didn’t franchise him. San Diego got better when the lost Sproles and Saint got worse with him. Giants were better the first half of the season when they were the worst rushing team and faltered toward the end of the season when they nearly doubled there rushing stats. Patriots would have won the Super Bowl had they not rushed for more yards than the Giants. I especially like how Blounts fumbles in the Titans and Jaguars games turned the momentum in our favor and he’s great in short yardage which isn’t very important in the game of football. Hell, it’s easy to play action when the defense knows your going to run 85% of the time a back is in the game.

    I’ll be very upset if the Bucs draft a RB who gained 2,000 yards and 20+ TD’s with an offense lead by a fantastic freshman Heisman candidate QB with 1st round talent at the WR position. Trent has fumbling issues due to his 1 fumble in 600+ carries.

    Don’t draft Trent, we’ve been using too many picks on the offensive side of the ball the last two years. We should pass more, it controls the clock and keeps our defense fresh and off the field.

    Go Bucs!

  30. JSmalls Says:

    Dave, he has terrible speed, you see all those DB’s catch him in that highlight video posted in this thread? Don’t try and act like he’s good, dude barely breaks a tackle either.

  31. JSmalls Says:

    All you Trent lovers, look at his TD run in the BCS game. He moves 15 yards laterally at 90% in 2 hops and makes no name DB Claiborn fall over himself trying to keep up around the edge. This single play shows his lack of vision, strenght and speed. You’ll change your minds about him when you see it, trust me, he won’t help the Bucs.

  32. Tristan Berry Says:

    I watched that video of Richardson and the dude is flat-out amazing. Just jaw-dropping power, speed, agility, balance, all the things that make a really good NFL power running back. I didn’t see great acceleration, but he does have very good speed once he gets a few strides going.

    But did y’all see the HUGE HOLES he had to run through? Sure, Trent Richardson is a legitimate beast, but that Bama OL pushed every defender wherever they wanted them to go. The Alabama OL is directly responsible for at least half of Richardson’s yardage. Richardson should go to a team that is struggling to find a good RB and he’ll be a very good back in the NFL, for sure. But the Bucs already have that in Blount, so there’s no reason for us to draft for a position we don’t have a huge need for in the first round. Our 1st round pick should go to a position we couldn’t find a long-term solution for in free agency.

    And if we have so many holes to fill on this team, we would probably do much better to trade that #5 pick to pick up more draft picks so we can maybe give up one superstar to get a really good linebacker, a really good safety, a really good corner, a fast wide receiver with reliable hands, and depth for the guys that work the trenches on both sides of the ball.

    But there’s another thing to consider, too. This is something I always thought about our roster and I was pleased to see Joe mention it a time or two. As fans, we really have no idea just how good the talent on our current roster is. They were coached so poorly and both the offensive and defensive schemes were so weak, that guys that looked horrible last year could actually be really good players.

    Mike Williams, Regis Benn, LaGarrette Blount, and maybe as many as ten other current Bucs could actually be much better than we’ve seen if they get coached properly and are put in a scheme where they are in a better position to make plays. So,if the new staff looks at all the tape from the last couple of years and they come to the same conclusion, maybe they’ll address a couple of needs in free agency and pull the trigger on a potential superstar at #5. I’m not in a position to know just what we have or what the new staff should do. But I can tell you that I have a lot more faith in the new staff to make those calls, so I’m just going to watch this off-season unfold and enjoy.

  33. Brain Says:

    Thank you Earnest. It’s great to hear those words from a fellow RB. I think the obvious solution here is to sign a veteran RB that has proven himself capable of picking up blitz packages. Drafting one just resets us and moves us backward. Jason Snelling just got resigned by the Falcons but there are other guys available like Mike Tolbert.

  34. JSmalls Says:

    Claiborn on Bucs D would make offenses quiver, Trent and Blount is ho hum.

  35. D-Rome Says:

    Huh, what….this

  36. D-Rome Says:

    this is the first time I’ve read a JBF article in about three weeks. There are people who actually think we should take a RB at 5 when we have Blount? o.O

  37. Bobby Says:

    @JSmalls…. I don’t understand, are you saying you’d like us to draft Trent Richardson?? Maybe you should post one more time just to clarify…..

  38. JSmalls Says:

    No, we should draft a CB that was out performed at the combine by two other CB’s that will be drafted lower. Let Richardson be an All Pro elsewhere. Maybe we can get the Falcons to trade their 2013 1st rounder to move up and grab him.

  39. So. Ill. Bucs Says:

    Didn’t Joseph Addai just get released? Not a bad third down receiver/blocker and probably will come pretty cheap.

  40. JSmalls Says:

    Addai = China doll