How About James Wilder, Jr.?

February 23rd, 2014
Tampa native and Florida State running back James Wilder during his media session at the NFL Combine.

Tampa native and Florida State running back James Wilder, Jr. during his media session at the NFL Scouting Combine.

No, the Bucs don’t really need a running back. If last year is evidence, the Bucs have a very deep running back situation. With Doug Martin, Mike James, Bobby Rainey and Erik Lorig, there isn’t much wiggle room for another guy.

Then again, when Joe had a chance to talk to Lovie Smith in the concourse of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine, while Lovie raved about the depth at running back, he also wanted a strong stable of guys to surround Martin.

Yes, he wants Martin to be that bellcow back, but Lovie also knows he can’t afford to run Martin into the ground.

Joe had a chance to spend a full 18 minutes with Florida State running back James Wilder, Jr. You may be familiar with that name. His dad was one of the best running backs in Bucs history. Wilder is still the franchise leader in yards rushing with 5,957.

His son, James, Jr., played for Plant High School in Tampa and Florida State. He clearly would love to spend this rest of his football days in the state of Florida. He told Joe and a few other scribes how much he thinks his versatility will be an advantage for his next team.

“Definitely, definitely, being able to run, run block, pass block and being great to be able to catch out of the backfield as well, it definitely helps me out,” said Wilder, who is 6-2, 230. “You have guys who maybe can’t block because of their size or guys who can’t catch. Me being versatile, being able to do all of them [skills], it definitely has given me an advantage.”

Wilder attribute his development into an NFL prospect, in part, to all the talent he practiced against at Florida State. The Seminoles had several defenders drafted last year, and expect to have several more drafted in May.

“We have a lot of great players, even from my freshman year, who were entering the draft from the defensive side of the ball,” Wilder said. “And [Florida State] coach [Jimbo] Fisher is the type of guy who likes to see people compete. He’s the guy who has us going ones-on-ones [first team offense vs. first team defense] all the time. So going against those guys definitely helped me out instead of just going against the scout teams or just going through the motions. Being able to compete against guys who are in the league now definitely gave me an edge.”

Now Joe isn’t about to suggest the Bucs are targeting Wilder. Joe is going to guess Wilder is a third-day draft pick. But if Lovie really wants to surround Martin with good running backs, why not a guy who can do everything, not just a one-dimensional player?

38 Responses to “How About James Wilder, Jr.?”

  1. snook Says:

    Yes please. Runs like his dad. And give him #32.

  2. Patrick in VA Says:

    You guys have been killing it lately. Great coverage and some solid points as to the applicability of these guys to the Bucs and the likelihood of them actually suiting up for us. Good stuff

  3. gatherspeed Says:

    With our depth at RB, playing special teams will be key to others making the team.

  4. Left_Coast_Bucs_Fan Says:

    Would love to see him picked up later in the draft by the Bucs, that young man has a lot talent. Have the Bucs ever had a second-generation Buccaneer player on their team before?

  5. Joe Says:

    You guys have been killing it lately. Great coverage and some solid points as to the applicability of these guys to the Bucs and the likelihood of them actually suiting up for us. Good stuff

    Thanks for the kind words, and more importantly, the support.

  6. Stu Laake Says:

    He seemed to lack maturity during his time at FSU. His upright running style will shorten his NFL shelf life, but for a 7th round value pick, why not? Especially if he can contribute on STs.

  7. Drew Says:

    @joe, have you interviewed any potential replacements for Rachel Watson?

  8. Bucs55 Says:

    Don’t think he will get drafted bring in him as a undrafted free agent to compete

  9. BOBBY C Says:

    Would be a nice addition to our team, family name doesnt hurt at all, and as we saw last year you can never have enough backs.

  10. Joe Says:

    Don’t think he will get drafted

    Wouldn’t shock Joe.

  11. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Great Legacy Pick for the 7th round.

  12. Joe Says:

    @joe, have you interviewed any potential replacements for Rachel Watson?

    Wouldn’t mind “interviewing” Tricia Cusmano.

  13. Macabee Says:

    Could have been a first round SS or Mike LB in the draft instead of the 4th or 5th round RB that he is likely to be. But what can I say, I wanted to be like my daddy too!

  14. lightningbuc Says:

    Should have stayed in school.

  15. Fsu Jeff Says:

    As a bucs-lifer and fsu alum, I was terribly excited to see what Wilder could do. Unfortunately, his physical talent never seemed show as a rb. Wilder has measurable to make scouts drool but unimpressive game film with a handful of run-ins with police, will make him a late round pick. Ultimately, he may need a position change to fullback or even linebacker. If I was going to gamble on a fsu guy I’d put money on Lamarcus Joyner, he was came up with big play after big play and was a leader and difference maker since coming to fsu. He also has the versatility of playing safety, returning kicks, while he projects best as a mickle corner.

  16. RastaMon Says:

    His dad is among my favorite all time Bucs…..the only thing have in common is the name…….no thanks….

  17. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Trade Rainey for a 3rd, then draft this guy later in the draft if he’s still there. Ding.

  18. blackmagic00 Says:

    Wonder if we could trade Rainey to Baltimore for a third?

  19. Couch Fan Says:

    Do you really think we could get a 3rd for Rainey? I think a 5th or 6th at best is more realistic.

  20. RastaMon Says:

    Rainey is better than Junior…..he is a football player…not a silver spoon under achiever ….mke that never achiever

  21. kevin Says:

    I would trade martin to baltimore for a first. Rainy wont bring anything. Actually martin to cleveland. I know people think thats crazy but I see him as being replaced with an equal talent post first round.

  22. kevin Says:

    Eddie lacy or Marshawn lynch style back would be nice. I like martin but he cant move a pile that well

  23. RastaMon Says:

    Only the dimmest fantasy geek would “utter” trade Martin… want a complementry RB…..LSU Jeremy Hill w/the 2nd pick……

  24. buccanAy Says:

    with so many needs for starters(DE,WR3), and quality depth EVERYWHRE, why would we use a valuable draft pick on the one position we have depth in? And on a position, that arguably is the easiest to replace?

  25. Brandon Says:

    At 6’3 232 lbs he turned in an unofficial 4.78 time. A permanent move to FB might be in order. I think he just went from being a pissible4th rounder to a 7th round hopeful. Personally, I love him. It was almost solely due to his father that I became a Bucs fan 30 years ago.

  26. you go joe Says:

    Sorry,but no RBs till 4th or higher. Even then we don’t need one, as Joe mentioned we have s very good depth. We still need an Oline, and no running back can perform well til our over paid line performs.

  27. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Yeah Wilder Jr. reminds me a lot of, our former (injury plagued) FB B. J. Askew. Folks forgot before the injuries, he was a top self full back. Hopefully we draft Wilder Jr. in the same role. Tough kid to bring down

  28. Brandon Says:

    Ouch, Wilder’s official 40 time was 4.86. That’s a killer. Dad ran a 4.6 or so back in the day. Looks like Junior got his speed from mom.

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Wilder Jr, would be a quality short yardage Fullback, Blocking Fullback, dump off receiver option out of the Backfield, and one mean special teamer.

  30. bucray1 Says:

    4.86 40. no thanks

  31. RastaMon Says:

    Wilder Jr……is not a football player…simple…certainly not at the NFL level….just a bigger …faster kid that ran roughshod over smaller slower kids that also will never play in the NFL…..

  32. Joe Dunn Says:

    Immaturity + all that money = TMZ stories

  33. owlykat Says:

    4.87 40 No Thanks. Too many higher needs!

  34. Oahubuc Says:

    His dad is the biggest reason I stayed a Bucs fan through some bleak years, but I’m not buying. BTW, 32 Sr. Belongs in the ROH sooner rather than later.

  35. SuperGobaby Says:

    Change your appellation to Joe Knucklehead. Wilder third on FSU’s depth chart.

  36. Uncle Deadly Says:

    Last time the idiotic fans wanted a hometown boy, it was Mike Williams from Plant and USC. He was a total bust.

    Don’t pick guys based on area codes.

  37. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    If he is finally willing to be a LB, we would be an absolute beast.

  38. BucTrooper Says:

    I can see Wilder becoming “Greg Jones” in the NFL.

    FSU people know who Greg Jones is.