Wild Weekend For Rookie Running Backs

September 12th, 2017

Bucs GM Jason Licht

Yes, the Buccaneers entered the 2017 NFL Draft with a pressing need: running back.

After 16 running backs were drafted, in what was considered an extraordinarily deep draft class, Tampa Bay selected Jeremy McNichols.

That didn’t work out; McNichols now gets a paycheck from the 49ers.

The Bucs, though, still appear to have need at running back while other teams filled their cupboards nicely, based on the results this weekend.

Ironically, the Bucs’ first two opponents this season had running backs light things up. The Bears’ Tarik Cohen (fourth-round pick) was downright electric against the Falcons’ speed-laden defense. Cohen rushed five times for 66 yards and caught eight balls for 47 yards and a touchdown in Chicago’s Week 1 loss. Last night, Vikings second-round pick Dalvin Cook set a new team record for a running back’s debut: 22 carries for 127 yards.

On Thursday, as Joe wrote previously, Bucs fans freaked out when Chiefs third-round pick Kareem Hunt set an NFL record.

While all of this means little because it’s just one game, Joe knows legions of Bucs fans felt hosed all weekend.

There also was a big spotlight this offseason on improving the Bucs’ run defense, which took a step back last season. That’s why Will Gholston was shown the money, and it’s part of the reason beefy Chris “Swaggy” Baker was added in free agency and the Bucs traded up for third-round pick Kendell Beckwith.

Will that be enough to slow down Cohen and Cook in the next two weeks?

40 Responses to “Wild Weekend For Rookie Running Backs”

  1. teacherman777 Says:

    Don’t worry.

    More young guns will come out in the draft next year too.

    We will draft one next year.

    Relax everybody.

  2. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Patriots avg. vs the run. Nola and Atl are crappy vs the run. Consider the opponents they were facing, that it was week one (first full game for the starters and sloppy tackling), and that there is no tape out on them yet as a pro on that offense…

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    “Fans” forget that it takes time to build a winner. You can’t address EVERY need in one off-season. We needed WR more than RB and we got a steal with OJ Howard, a luxury pick.
    How about this, lets root for the guys that we have instead of pining for the ones we don’t. If they’re not wearing pewter, I’m not interested.
    Go Bucs!

  4. Dlavid Says:

    How about when our running game suffers ( to all of the above ) you remember the passes we took on so many . BLUNDER by Licht .we need a back who can take it to the house .

  5. Nutterbuccer Says:

    Just hard seeing cook in a vikings uniform as a miles fan, as stated before it just seemed right for him to stay in Florida and play behind Winston again. OJ and evans better turn out to be good. I have faith in Licht and I would really like to see what Barber can do eith more carries I think he has earned that right.

  6. Ed Says:

    That will change once Defense coordinators get film on them. Sometime we look at thing from the outside, and can not see, what you have in the inside. McNichols, and Wilson has no business being placed on the practice squad, they have speed and talent,however this G.M. has no eye for rookie talent.

  7. Guzzie Says:

    Maybe Saquon Barkley falls to us, or at least close to trade up for, with so many teams getting quality RBs

  8. Jeagan1999 Says:

    Time to open up the passing game and stretch the field a bit. Success in the vertical passing game should help open a few running lanes…at least until Martin returns.

    Hope everyone in the Tampa area got thru the storm without major damage! We have been without power here at our house in north Georgia since 4pm yesterday as tropical storm force winds swept across Atlanta and beyond….we are 40 miles north of Atlanta….downing lots of trees and power lines.

  9. Waterboy Says:

    It was definitely tough watching some of the rookie RB’s shine this week but other than Evans (and it’s still very early in his career) I can’t think of any one of our top 4 rd draft picks from this year that I would have rather Licht passed on to select one of those backs. Jeremy McNichols was the best available still left on the draft board in the 5th round.

  10. Eric Says:

    Not all Bucs fan as one who sit in the Club Seats I was really Happy with or draft so let’s go BUCS!!!

  11. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Well it obviously wasn’t across the board. Joe Mixon couldn’t have been a game changer since his team not only lost they were shut out!

    Haven’t heard about Foreman and some of the others. Next to NOSBOS I was a huge Dalvin fan. He simply played like folks expected. And if he hadn’t had a couple of uncharacteristic drops his and Bradford’s numbers would have been even more impressive!

  12. SCBucsFan Says:

    I think we might regret not taking Cook. Not because Howard will be bad, but because our run game will be and he would have been the more useful pick.

  13. Eric Says:

    I think Licht didn’t draft Cook because he didn’t want it to look like Jameis was calling the shots.

    Or, he believed the combine cone drill over film.

    Either way, dumb decision.

    Dalvin is just getting warmed up. Opened up the passing game for Bradford, just as he would have done for Jameis.

    Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.

  14. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Watching Tarik Cohen run wild gave me hope for Quizz. Cohen is obviously faster but what a tiny dude!!!

    Even Quizz is larger by a dozen pounds and one inch. These little guys have a way of disappearing behind huge OL and they spot a hole and boom they’re through it for a big gain.

    I want to see what Quizz can do and again I think Doug is ready to have a rebound year if Quizz isn’t our guy.

    I do not despair over our RB situation as long as our OL plays well.

  15. JayBucBoi Says:

    Dig that @Bucsfanman. As long as they’re wearing pewter, I’m on the team. As soon as they leave or are passed over for another squad to draft, kick rocks..

    All about the Bay!

  16. Dano74 Says:

    It was very hard watching these rookie RB’s look so good & we could of had one of them. The 2nd pick safety Evans is garbage .

  17. Waterboy Says:

    I think Cook was the best RB in the draft but they had to grab Howard at 19. And from the rumors that were being reported during the draft Licht was working to trade up with GB in the 2nd rd to draft Cook but GB’s asking price was too high. Mixon was already drafted before the Bucs picked in the 2nd so I can’t fault Licht for not giving up draft picks to trade up for him either. Cohen is 180 lbs and a huge talent but not quite the type of back the Bucs needed as a feature back.

  18. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Garbage? Really Dano? Were you one of the guys who called Ronde Barber garbage because of his abysmal first couple of years. Sometimes it takes a guy awhile to figure it out.

  19. Piratic Says:


  20. unbelievable Says:

    Hey guys- our 2nd round rookie who safety who has never played a snap is garbage! He’s already a bust!

    Lol gotta love Bucs fans…

  21. Bucamania Says:

    Fresh new RBs come out every year. Stud TEs who can run, catch, and block do not. A guy like Hunt in the 3rd would’ve been nice but Godwin is a stud. Dougie will be fine this year. They’ll get one next draft.

  22. doolnutts Says:

    You can’t fix all of a team’s holes in one offseason. Bucs management clearly made an emphasis to shore up the Safety position. Signed Willcox, Drafted Evans, Signed TJ Ward and traded away Willcox after seeing what he had for an entire offseason…. I don’t really know what the argument here is. Clearly the bucs management thinks that Safety was one of the biggest needs on the team and they have done what they can to address it.

    Bucs will be fine with a running back by committee. We likely won’t have a 1,000 yard back but I think it is a safe bet that we get some great production from all 4 backs on the team.

  23. Eric Says:

    If Howard turns into a dynamic force in the passing game, then ok.

    But not a blocking icon. You don’t spend a number one on one of those.

    Cook is a special talent. tough inside but give him some space will break off a long one. Defenses will have to pay attention. We have no one close to that skill set, including Martin.

    And we already had a really good TE that Jameis loves.

    Remains to be seen whether we fixed safety, starting Sunday. But we could have gotten rid of Wilcox and signed Ward and drafted Cook. And if we had to have Evans work out a trade up. Don’t think anyone was head over heels in love with him given tackling deficiencies.

  24. lambchop Says:

    I’m so tired of these RB posts. RBs are a dime a dozen in today’s NFL. We will be fine with the guys we have and will definitely get a stud next year. You just don’t pass up on OJ Howard. He is the #1 rated TE in the class and guess what? He’s going to block and open up gapes for our RBs. What a luxury to have Brate catching, Juice blocking and catching.

    Here’s the real deal – if you have a quality OL, you can put an avg. RB in the backfield and he’ll do enough to keep the defense honest. Denver had that for a while back in the day. They went through RBs like a turnstile and each and every one of them were 1,000 yard studs.

    Dalvin Cook had a 30+ run during garbage time when the d was gassed. Otherwise, he was avging 3.5 yards or something like that for the longest time. It helps when you have an OL giving Bradford time to pick apart the secondary and Dalvin comes in to hammer a few yards here and there. He will probably get better, but don’t have buyers remorse – he still isn’t AP or LT in their prime. I don’t see that game changing quality in him.

    Should we have drafted a RB earlier or whatever? Maybe, but who cares. The brass thought the stable had quality players and they held off on it. I think Licht and the coaching staff have turned around a dumpster fire to be given a little leash once in a while. You don’t know what you don’t know. Any given draft pick can be a dud, so let’s just trust in their experience and stop being a mamby pamby cry baby about it.

  25. Ndog Says:

    That is just it doolnuts we could have but instead we drafted a useless 3rd string safety who can’t tackle and looks lost in the 2nd round. That one decision could kill us this year, and it seems most everyone on this board knew it the second it happened. Man I hope I’m wrong and Evans turns out to be a stud but I’ll say again if he was not a 2nd round pick his play this preseason would have got him cut, he was that bad.

  26. Lamarcus Says:

    Were a pass first team nuff said

  27. Rod Munch Says:

    The pick where Cook was going to go was in round 1 – so the comparison is OJ vs Cook and TE’s generally take at least a full year to get going so we won’t know the results for a while. Cook looked great, but I think we all knew he would, at least against a team like the Saints.

  28. BucTrooper Says:

    I was right about Michael Clayton.

    I was right about Mark Barron.

    I am right about Dalvin Cook.

  29. lambchop Says:

    Let me just say that AP made a HUGE mistake going to the Saints. Payton can’t even put him in the game more than what he did against his former team? The guy was amped up to play the Vikings, but Sean Payton will live and die with the pass 9 out of 10 times. How long is Brees going to carry that team?

    I’m not saying AP would have torched the Viking’s stout D, but give the man some respect by letting him leave it all out there. Any other situation where a player is playing his former team, and usually they become the catalyst for his new team. Sean Payton was like, “Yea, we’ll get to it after I call these super smart passing plays, buddy. Hang in there.” I don’t think anyone thinks Sean Payton’s play calling is innovative anymore.

  30. Bucsfanman Says:

    @BucTrooper- Can I get the lottery numbers this week? Irma blew down my fence and I need to replace it.
    Did you forget how lousy this team was 2 years ago? How the heck are you supposed to upgrade EVERY position in that span?! Especially when you consider how awful we were.
    I get it. He’s a hometown guy with talent blah, blah, blah. He AIN’T a Buc! I think we need to move on with what we have.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    lambchop – Just for the record it’s AD “All Day” not AP, Vikings fans have drilled that into my head like Mike Alstott would drill Minnesota linebackers into the ground.

    Anywho, who is to say AD had a choice in the matter? It wasn’t like teams were beating down his door to sign him and he didn’t get anything close to a big contract.

  32. BucTrooper Says:

    Well since the lottery is completely random, no, I can’t help you. But I’ve watched every MINUTE of Florida State football for about a DECADE including the entirety of Dalvin Cook’s career. It was a mistake passing him up. We’re already getting the apologists in the media saying OJ Howard is a great blocker, how he’ll HELP the running game, etc, already making excuses for when his stats mirror Luke Stocker’s.

    He was the pick. He played with Jameis before. We knew going into this season that the Bucs needed to improve their running game and they’ve done NOTHING. The strategy is “go 2-1 over 3 games and pray Doug Martin returns to form.” I thought Licht would have learned his lesson after adopting the “hope and pray” strategy LAST year with the WR position. Apparently he hasn’t.

  33. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “BucTrooper Says:
    September 12th, 2017 at 12:46 pm
    I was right about Michael Clayton.

    I was right about Mark Barron.

    I am right about Dalvin Cook.”

    lol 3 decisions out of like thousands that have had to have been made in that time span. I’m sure you were also wrong about a sh1t load of predictions just like everyone else here always is.

  34. cmurda Says:

    OJ Howard over Dalvin all day. People seem to forget that our RB stable is pretty reliable. Brate is solid but he’s not a TE that can take the top off a defense. OJ is in the mold of a young Graham or Gronk. 1 week isn’t going to change my mind.

  35. Lord Cornelius Says:


    This whole season probably can’t change my mind. Gronkowski didn’t do much receiving as an NFL TE his first year.

    Imo the impact of OJ Howard this year will come in the form of him blocking like a OT and improving our run game YPC average a good chunk; plus a good sprinkle of explosive YAC type plays and another sprinkle of big time seam / intermediate catches (although I think most these still go to Brate this year)

  36. cmurda Says:

    Agree totally LC. His superior blocking can’t be overstated.

  37. lambchop Says:

    @Rod Munch, I hear ya. “AD” is retired though. AP is now in the avg. RB category, so unless all day means struggling to get reps all day then we can leave that one buried in Minny.

    I’m willing to bet, at least 1 other team would have picked him up cheap and almost any other team would have let him loose on his former team. You can’t charge up a team more than a scorned player.

  38. NFLNut Says:

    I’d take Kamara over Justin Evans … and I really wanted the team to trade up in the 2nd for Cook … but it is what it is and there are a bunch of good backs who could be available in the 2nd and 3rd rounds next year, guys like: Derrius Guice, Bo Scarborough, Nick Chubb and Royce Freeman … I like all four of those guys.

    Anyways, I think we draft a DE, CB and T in the first 3 rounds next year so I’m not sure we’ll get a stud RB next year either … unless we sign a DE, CB or T in free agency (think DE’s like Akiem Hicks, or Kony Ealy, CB’s like Malcolm Butler or Prince Amukamara and a T like Nate Solder) and spring for a RB in the draft.

    In fact, as I believe the Patriots will keep Tom Brady AND franchise tag Jimmy G, it wouldn’t shock me to see us snag either Nate Solder (a massive upgrade for our offensive line) or CB and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler (VH & Butler could be a dynamic duo for 4-5 years)!

    So yeah, I’m thinking a nice offseason would be signing Nate Solder to start at LT, move Donovan Smith over to RT thereby creating one of the best lines in the NFL with Solder/Pamphile/Marpet/Sweezy/Smith … and then use our #1 pick on the best available DE, our 2nd round pick on the best available CB and our 3rd round pick on the best available RB (probably Chubb or Freeman) … that would be a nice offseason imho.

  39. NFLNut Says:

    By the way … I think there could literally be SEVEN quarterbacks (Darnold, Rosen, Allen, Jackson, Mayfield, Rudolph and Browning) taken in the 1st round next year as I think the following teams could all go QB in round one: Jets, Bills, Ravens, Jags, Redskins, Vikings, Saints, Cardinals and 49’ers.

    If SEVEN teams ahead of us in the draft take a QB that will push some great DE, CB, RB, T talent down and we should be able to draft a real stud in the first round!

  40. Buc_Lightning Says:

    It’s funny to hear that RB’s are dime a dozen. lol Very few teams can make it deep into the playoffs without a balanced team. RB’s are needed more than people think. If your QB is having a bad day a good RB can help take the load off of them. I still think Doug can be good enough to make us more balanced. As long as be doesn’t shoot himself in the foot again.