Running Back Logic Questioned

February 9th, 2018

Recent Bucs history of drafting running backs is sad.

A lot of Bucs fans squirm in their seats when Joe throws out the remote prayer that perhaps the best running back in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell, makes it to free agency and the Bucs could enter a high-stakes bidding war for his services.

These same fans will scream there are plenty of running backs to choose from in the draft.

Joe used to be firmly planted into this mindset. But upon further review, history suggests a difference-making running back can be easily had later in the draft is just not so. … At least when it comes to the Bucs.

In the past eight years, the Bucs have drafted eight running backs or fullbacks. And aside from two fantastic years from Doug Martin, every one of the eight have been giant nothing burgers.

Let’s take a look:

Jeremy McNichols, fifth round

Danny Vitale, sixth round

Joey Iosefa, seventh round

Charles Sims, third round

Mike James, sixth round

Doug Martin, first round
Michael Smith, seventh round

Allen Bradford, sixth round

That’s a whole lot of blah!

The Bucs did get a helluva running back off the streets and he was an important rookie cog in a 10-win season in 2010. But this same guy was thrown out of One Buc Palace two years later for allegedly not being a Buccaneer Man.

His name? LeGarrette “Three Rings” Blount.

So maybe instead of quickly dismissing any thought of Bell — provided he hits the open market when the free agency dinner bell rings in 33 days — perhaps Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht might just see how high the bidding war gets if Bell escapes the Steelers?

Recent Bucs history says drafting a running back is anything but a surefire cure to fix the rancid Bucs rushing attack.

66 Responses to “Running Back Logic Questioned”

  1. German Buc Says:

    One can dream:

  2. Rick Says:

    @joe, “giant nothing burgers” I needed that laugh thank you. It’s also the sad truth. I’m torn though part of me says Yeah, let’s pony up the $$ for Bell, get Nelson at 7 and possibly have the best Bucs offense ever!! The other part of me says that’s $15 Mil per year and multi year deal to boot for a player that MAY be a head case and make the team regret (and be stuck with a huge cap hit) for signing him. Provided that didn’t happen and Nelson is there at #7 (protects J and most importantly blows open holes for Bell) Marpet back to RG, draft a beast at center, Evans, (a renewed and has worked on timing with J) DJax, Godwin, Brate, OJ, Hump, my god it’s good luck to defenses stopping that!! @German Buc, I doubt the draft plays out like that, Barkley should be gone by #7 if that happens I won’t be that upset because it would be kinda like “putting the cart before the horse” we have to have an online in place for any running back, currently on the team, free agent, or drafted can have sustained success. Getting Nelson will seriously help with that. I think many a Buc fan just might shed tears to have an almost unstoppable offense that passes, runs, and play actions other teams at will all season.

  3. darin Says:

    Im just not sold on bells motives. Could be a get paid big and tank kinda guy. His comments arent doing him any favors. I do think the bucs must draft a rb in the 2nd round this year. Lots of good ones that should go around then. By round 3 they could be gone. Never know but licht seems to overdraft to get his guy. Free agency could change alot tho. Go bucs

  4. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Free Agent Watch: RB – Isaiah Crowell (25)

    Isaiah Crowell (25)– Four-Year Career Average
    • Rushing Yards 779.50 | AVG: 4.2 | TD’s 5.2
    • Receptions: 24 | YDS: 192.5

    Potential Cap Casualty Candidate: DeMarco Murray

    DeMarco Murray (30)2015-2017 – Average
    • Rushing Yards 883.0 | AVG: 4.0 | TD’s 7
    • Receptions: 45 | YDS: 322 | TD’s 2

    Note: In Reference to DeMarco Murray – Remember Mike Murlarkey & Dirk Koetter run very similar systems.

    Possible Projection
    Peyton Barber | Kalen Ballage
    Isaiah Crowell | DeMarco Murray

  5. Alanbucsfan Says:

    If they don’t fix the interior offensive line situation to improve running lanes, it won’t matter…

  6. Rick Says:

    @Darin, Bingo that’s the safer move. Nelson at 7. 2nd round Sony, Guice, Kerryon, or R Jones, use the saved money from not getting Bell on a free agent/traded for DE. Those would be the key moves, but need a few more ancillary moves such as getting Grimes to return Hargreaves bounced back etc…

  7. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Kalen Ballage (ASU)

    Doesn’t he remind you of someone?

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    An Interior Offensive Line Of…..

    LG Andrew Norwell | Caleb Benenoch
    C Ali Marpet | Joe Hawley
    RG Quenton Nelson | Frank Ragnow* <-Swing Guard/Center Upgrade

    + Plus a couple of Power Backs – will remedy everything.

  9. Rick Says:

    @LUV, I’m thinking LG (Blount) ?

  10. Waterboy Says:

    Bell wants to be paid like a top WR not top RB and 15 mil a year is just too much for a RB not to mention one that is one more positive drug test away from a 1 year suspension. I think he turned down a multi-year contract last year that paid over 12 mil a season so unless he suddenly realized that was a mistake he’s looking to be way overpaid. I’d take my chances drafting a RB in the first 3 rds and bringing in s mid-level guy like Hyde or Mckinnon in free agency.

  11. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Rick – Yup

  12. USFBUC Says:

    I think the third round or a trade up into the second is where we pick a RB this year.

    @LUV – I didn’t watch much PAC12 football but I like the look of Ballage, he is a patient RB and big (6’2, 227) which I like. Thanks for pointing him out.

  13. Rick Says:

    LUV, I actually have an amusing true story about Coach Schiano and LG that occurred on an away game trip. Send me a PM if you would like to hear it. It’s nothing that would embarrass the organization and both of them are no longer with, just an amusing story.

  14. teacherman777 Says:

    Bring Blount home and pound the rock!!!!!

  15. Jooehelldeloxley Says:

    Joe, as always, is onto something.

    We can’t say that we have been good as drafting in the last round (not only RB).

    So if good Rbs, not even a guy like Bell, but guy like Carlos Hyde, Isaiah Crowell, let’s bring in, He can’t be worst than Doug Martin this year. We already have Peyton Barber, we just need one or two more guys to share the load with him

  16. Alanbucsfan Says:


    I would move Marpet back to guard and draft another guard and center
    DL is priority as well

  17. Mike Johnson Says:

    A great offense will get you a..Great Offense. But your Offense cannot stop anybody. Go ahead Bucs Draft a guard or a runningback. And keep losing.

  18. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Your Welcome brotha

    Later Round Pac-12 Prospects – that could help out the Bucs

    • Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
    • Lavon Coleman, RB, Washington

    • DJ Calhoun, RB, Arizona State <-LUV this Kid
    • Arrion Springs, CB, Oregon

    Check'em out when U get a chance.

  19. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Ok Rick

  20. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    1st year on the job – IMO the kid did alright.

  21. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    DJ Calhoun

  22. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    DJ Calhoun, *ILB, Arizona State

  23. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    German Buc

    If Barkley drops to 7 we’d obviously have to consider him strongly. I worry about picking an RB with the 7th pick. But then I’m a former Bengals fan who will never forget the last great Penn State RB who went #1 in the draft to the Bengals.

    Kijana Carter was a great back who blew his knee out in the preseason and was never dominant. I realize any player can get injured but RB’s are really in dangerous positions…still if we picked Barkley I’d understand that selection.

    I was a huge Dalvin fan and look what happened to him. If Licht had been able to engineer his reported attempt to move up and grab him imagine…a total loss for last year.

    But again if it’s Barkley I could live with it…but a second round pick of a DB would really drive me nuckin futs. What’s the point of drafting a DB until we get a pass rush. We don’t really know how good or bad our DB’s are…with ZERO pass rush all defensive backfields are exposed and look bad.

  24. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Don’t forget about Blair Thomas, Curtis Enis & Dj Dozier

  25. Bucsfanman Says:

    @LUV- You got my attention with Ballage. Definitely similar to Blount. Bring back the “old school” PUNISHING running GAME.

  26. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’m sure Dirk will get him at least two plays per game when their down by 28 points

  27. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Yes Sirrr – Good Ole fashion smash mouth.

    The most effective runner in a spread offense is a brusher, because you’ve gotta commit to the pass. Therefore a linebacker has to come off the field.

    And backs like Ballage, Kerryon, etc. will eat DB’s up.

  28. Not there yet Says:

    Good grief let it go, Blount was an a hole whole he was here and whole in Pittsburgh so who cares. Licht is the current gm so what they did before him is irreverent my problem is he’s talking into account the preferences of the coaches waaaaaay too much. Tell the coach to STFU and work with what you give them. Lovie is responsible for Sims other than that that stupid coach has to be the reason we’ve drafted 2 fullbacks and one running back, he’s proven how much he loves Doug Martin. I just don’t think licht understands how to build a team, just a meathead scout

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Watch the DJ Calhoun video when u get a chance.
    The kid destroys folks

  30. Bucsfanman Says:

    OOOOWEEEE! LUV, Calhoun is nasty! Man our LB corps would be ridiculous with a guy like that in the mix. A possible LVD replacement? Maybe.

  31. D-Rome Says:

    I’m not as down on Charles Sims as you seem to be, Joe. I really think Sims can be a valuable asset and a weapon on the team in the right scheme.
    Absolutely he can be. Guy is special enough to win one game a year for you on raw talent. But he’s hardly been a strong 2014 draft pick.-Joe

  32. 813bucboi Says:

    guice….Ronald jones…..scarbough….

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!

  33. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    I remember those three but not being a huge PSU fan I didn’t really follow them.
    Did they have good pro careers?

    Again the only reason I remember Carter was I was living in Cincinnati when he was picked. We were all JACKED…until that first preseason game.

    Have you done any study Luv on which positions are the most dangerous in terms of injury?

    Just watching it’s clear kickers have it made…QB’s seem to last a long time along with WR’s and OL’s…RB’s seem to get blown up a lot. But that’s not statistical just observational.

  34. Guzzie Says:

    You take the BPA and that’s Barkley at 7, generational talent, best way to help a defense, don’t give them the ball and score TDs when you’re in the redzone, how do you do that, run the ball, we can sign guards in FA, any other DE at 7 would be reaching big time, I’m personally hoping for a trade down though, but if Barkley falls it’s only because a run on QBs happens and the Bucs will regret passing on him, anyone remember reaching for Gaines instead of getting AP, how’d that work out

  35. El_Buc941 Says:

    Bring in Leveon Bell,give him a tour of the facility (AND definitely the Glazer’s Money Vault),get Jameis,Mike Evans,Desean Jackson,GMac, and hopefully Brent Grimes to bug him about joining the squad and make him an offer that he can’t deny.THEN go and draft Sony Michel and you have a 1-2 best in the league RBs.

  36. Joe Says:

    Thanks Rick.

  37. Pickgrin Says:

    This is the guy you want to guarantee $50M+ to Joe???

    He’s one weak moment away from being suspended for an entire year.


    Who is stupid enough to guarantee a RB (with a history of drug suspension) $15M per on a multi year deal???

  38. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Just googling success rate of finding stud 5th-7th round RBs… one article says

    5th round – 9%
    6th round – 6%
    7th round – 0%

    But their criteria was like a full workhorse back for multiple years or something. They have the success rates at only 58% / 25% / 16% in the first 3 rounds which seems low to me. Kamara may have not even been a success in their formula since he split carries with Ingram.

    Regardless – you can’t expect 5-7 round studs consistently; and between Blount/Mike James that isn’t bad really vs a couple failed FBs in those late rounds.

    At least Martin/Sims gave us a few good years and weren’t total busts; although I’m ready to move on from both.

  39. Lord Cornelius Says:

    And the point of this article shouldn’t be that the Bucs can’t draft RBs imo. It should be that we have to spend an earlier pick if we want to find a good one…

    And signing Bell = way less $$ to spend on D-line/CB/O-line

    Would much rather sign proven players at those 3 spots and draft a RB in the top 3 rounds in terms of allocation of resources. Bell could mean 2 defensive starters or a stud DE like Lawrence if he actually hit the market

    I didn’t realizie Zeke Ansah will be 29 going into next season. I’d still sign him because we’re desperate but the age/injury history sounds all too familiar for us

  40. LakeLand Says:

    The RBs are not the problem

    The Offensive System is the problem

    2,763 Yards from scrimmage

    894 Yards from scrimmage

    834 yards from scrimmage

  41. LakeLand Says:

    Those are Doug Martin and Charles Sims combined yards from scrimmage. In 2015,2016,2017

  42. BucTrooper Says:

    Cook was the pick… I’ve said it for almost a year. We did not need another TE. I don’t care how great OJ Howard is. We did not need him. We needed a RB and a DE.

  43. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I’d say Doug Martin most definitely was a problem lol otherwise random guys like Jaquis Rodgers & Peyton Barber wouldn’t have looked liked studs in comparison.

  44. LakeLand Says:


    I agree 100%

  45. LakeLand Says:

    Why did Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David go from 8 sacks in 2016 to 0 in 2017? These are too many regressions.

  46. SOEbuc Says:

    FA RB Jerick Mckinnon (Vikings). He got me a lot of fantasy points this past year. We are paying way too much on players at the moment and we will also have to pay big money for our younger guys soon. Not too many SPLASH defensive FA that are gonna be available, especially on the line. If we are going defense in the first I want it to be Chubb/Fitz/Vea. Nelson if offense. I want CB Mike Hughes in the second if we don’t get Minkah. Pick up a good corner in FA and let Grimes go. Pay Lamarus Joyner cash. He is undersized but can literally dominate at FS, SS, and Nickel and is only 27. Defensive line rounds 3-5 with possibly one in the first.

  47. Joeypoppems Says:

    @German Buc

    Thats more like a nightmare

  48. Joeypoppems Says:

    As far as the recent draft history goes, so what? Most were day 3 picks anyway. Im one for waiting on a RB, Rashaad Penny in round 3 pls, but thats too long to wait. And it doesnt mean we shouldnt draft a RB

    Look at our recent DB draft history. Most were busts and were much higher picks. That shouldnt stop us from drafting DBs

  49. Joeypoppems Says:


    Koetter was the OC in 2015. Did he change his scheme when he went from OC to HC?

  50. SOEbuc Says:

    Or possibly trade back to #21 and #22:

    Pay Lamarcus Joyner, #21-DT Vea/DE Sam Hubbard #22- CB Josh Jackson/ Denzel Ward.

    That’s a sick ass secondary plus a very good pass rusher (both are) which is what is supposedly needed for Mike Smith’s 15-yard cushion to work.

  51. SOEbuc Says:


    These three guys (Fitz, Jackson, Ward) that are very likely to go in the first would surprise me to be busts. Especially Fitz. Maybe not all pro bowlers but not busts. But I’ve continuously said Hughes in the second not only because he’s a great DB, but also a great return man. I doubt he would bust at both those positions and could possibly be great at both.

  52. LakeLand Says:


    Yes he did.

    2015 Tampa Bay Bucs Offense
    535 pass attempts
    455 rushes
    RBs 119 targets
    WRs targets 307

    2017 Tampa Bay Bucs
    605 pass attempts
    390 rushes
    RBs 95 targets
    WRs targets 373

  53. LakeLand Says:

    Those are just stats, but they had a more balanced offense in 2015.

  54. godzilla13 Says:

    The Bucs really do not need a RB. Keep what was just three years ago the “best RB combo in the NFL”. Re-sign Charles Sims and go with Martin/Sims/Barber. Fix the OL with Nelson or sign the best available in FA. Move Ali Marpet to RG and Joe Hawley at Center. Running game back in action then focus on the defense.

    If The Bucs decide to draft a RB, I only see four that could step right in and replace Martin. If Nick Chubb is available in round three, draft him.

    1) RB Saquon Barkley (5-11 215) Penn State. Possibly the best player in this years draft. Power RB with sub 4.30 speed. Tampa has a shot at him dropping to seven and would be a steal.
    2) RB Derrius Guice (5-11 215) LSU. Power RB with break-away speed. Unless the Bucs can move back into the first round, the chances of him being there in the second are slim.
    3) RB Sony Michel (5-11 225) Georgia. A gifted athlete who can turn small runs
    into big plays. Threat to go all the way on every play. Bucs would need to draft him in the third round.
    4) RB Ronald Jones II (6-1 200) USC. Another power back who perhaps has the best breakaway speed of any running back prospect in the draft…Probably second round with a small chance to drop to third round.

  55. LakeLand Says:

    But I have to admit, a lot of those yards in 2015 came during garbage time. They lost 6 games by 10 points or more.

  56. Joeypoppems Says:


    Alright. I legit didnt know lol. Wasnt trying to be sarcastic or anything lol.

  57. Joeypoppems Says:

    Barkley does not have sub 4.30 speed lol.

    The hype is getting out of control for Barkley lol

  58. Rod Munch Says:

    The only 2 picks above 3rd round have been for Sims, who is one of the best 3rd down backs in the game and one of the best receivers at RB in the game, so much so he actually started at WR in the week 17 game in 2016 (I believe that is case, he was #3 but they started with 3).

    As for the other pick, Martin, he’s a x1 First Team All-Pro and x2 Pro-Bowler, and in fact he’s the only first team All-Pro RB in team history. Sounds like a very good pick to me.

  59. Duke Says:


    Barkley sub 4.3 speed. At Penn state He also leaped the Athletic Dorm in a single bound. It’s rumoured that His only weakness is Bucs side line reporter Jenna Lane
    and ranked defense’s.

  60. Rod Munch Says:

    Just looking around and Saquon Barkley ran a hand timed 4.33 – which generally means that’s like a 4.4 at the combine.

    We won’t have to wait long to find out. He’s certainly an impressive RB and I wouldn’t hate the idea of going with him if the run on QBs doesn’t happen and other guys are off the board. Loading up the offense is one way to go if you can’t find defensive help.

  61. NFLNut Says:


    Best options in order:

    1. Saquon Barkley (he won’t make it to #7 so it’s a pipe dream imo)

    2. Lev Bell (he’ll be franchised and cost us the #7 and maybe more …)

    3. CARLOS HYDE (realistic signing … make it happen!!!!!)

    4. 2nd round back (Chubb/Michel/Jones … any would be fine)

    5. 3rd round back (Rashaad Penny … would be fine)

    6. 4th or later round back (Scarborough, Royce Freeman, etc … sure)

    I’d like to see a stable of: Hyde/Barber/Simms/Quizz


  62. denjoe Says:

    When will people realize Dork, doesn’t want to run the ball?

  63. NFLNut Says:

    ^ They should never realise that because it isn’t true, at all. Dirk is the guy who ran like crazy in Jacksonville with MoJoD and in Tampa with Doug in 2015 … if he has a line that can run block and capable backs Dirk can make them stars … Tampa didn’t have that the last 2 years but in 2015 Doug was a star … the running game issues are NOT because of Dirk.

  64. Josh Says:

    It’s been bad because they’ve all been 5-7th round picks! Note that the one first round RB we selected has had two stellar years (and is in fact among the top 5 buccaneers for total rushing yards!). Drafting a runningback LATE is the problem here.

  65. FortMyersDave Says:

    LakeLand Says:
    February 9th, 2018 at 3:10 pm
    But I have to admit, a lot of those yards in 2015 came during garbage time. They lost 6 games by 10 points or more.

    How about this past season Lakeland? Lets look at how many yards the Bucs got in garbage time in the desert vs the Cards and in Minnesota. They also made a pseudo-comeback in the ATL after Smith and the D did their usual tank job. I think the O has talent but the numbers in the pass game were inflated as a lot of the yardage and scores were vs prevent D’s that amazingly almost gave the Bucs a chance to win in the desert…. Says a lot about the mediocrity of most of the NFl, say from the Bucs and Dolphins up to the low tier playoff teams like the Chiefs, Bills, Titans (they would have been 0-6 or 1-5 vs the NFC South like the Bucs just got a mega soft schedule to get 9 wins); leaving out the real dregs like Cleveland and the Giants as well as the true talent like the Patsys, Pitt, Philly, etc and you have a bunch of teams who can go anywhere from 5-11 to 10-6 depending on the schedule, a ref call here or there, other minor intangibles and of course crucial injuries that destroyed Houston and Indy and helped the Titans snare 3 cheap wins…. That is all that separated the Bucs from their 9-7 2016 season and the 2017 trainwreck…. The talent was not too different but the schedule was more difficult and the Bucs jaked the close games on the road in 2018 (Buffalo, Carolina via the Loaf Baker, Packer choke job) but managed to win in Carolina, KC, San Diego and the ATL in 2017; essentially the 4 game difference between 9-7 and 5-11. In a nutshell: Koetter won the close ones in 2017 and bent over in 2018. Regression? Yes, you can say that but easy to go from 7th worst team in the NFL to the middle of the pack; much more difficult to go from middle of the pack and break into the elite of the NFL which reflects ownership Glazers!

  66. Duke Says:


    The answer to “did he change his system” is No. The number’ s you reference are not evidence of a change. How can make you make an inference to offensive scheme based on the numbers you offered as evidence is …….well…….ridiculous.
    The only thing that you could possibly divine from those stats is the Bucs May have or it’s possible that they were behind in games more often than not.