Lack Of Help From Two Draft Picks

August 23rd, 2018


When a team is coming off a 5-11 record and virtually the entire football operation of the NFL team understands their employer has demonstrated little to no tolerance for coaches losing, one would hope early draft picks could impact a team (positively).

And given the Bucs drafted a pair of guys with their first two picks at weak spots on the roster, the doors were virtually open wide for the two high picks to start.

But as Joe currently types this here post, defensive tackle Vita Vea and running back Ronald Jones will not be contributing anything in the regular season opener at New Orleans other than taking up space on the sidelines.

As Jenna Laine of ESPN points out, Vea needs to get on the practice field first, and Jones just needs to get acclimated to life as an NFL running back.

Vita Vea, DT, Round 1: Vea suffered a strained calf at the beginning of camp and has not returned to practice. He has shed his walking boot and is not expected to miss any regular-season games. He’s also kept his weight down. He’s not getting actual football reps now, so it might be some time before Vea’s true impact is felt.

Ronald Jones II, RB, Round 2: Jones’ transition has been a slow one, and it’s because of his hands. He’s had several noticeable drops in practice. In games, he hasn’t done enough to unseat Peyton Barber, who is averaging 5.3 yards per carry this preseason and likely will hold onto the starting job.

As Joe pointed out yesterday, despite public proclamations to the contrary, Jones has not shown anything that would lead Joe to believe he is anything more than (currently) the No. 4 running back. Peyton Barber, Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers, at the very least, have proven resumes in the NFL.

No, there is no need to panic. Or even sweat.

But given how the Bucs will be without their franchise quarterback for the first three games, and how teams that start 0-3 are doomed, the Bucs need all hands on deck and that includes every rookie kept when rosters are shaved to 53 at 4 p.m. on Sept. 1.

54 Responses to “Lack Of Help From Two Draft Picks”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Quite the reach to say Ronald Jones won’t contribute anything but take up space week one. The guy has barely carried the ball and hasn’t been given many reps behind the entire first team line in tackle to the ground action. Chill

    People are moving wayyy too quickly over limited action.

    If Rojo is not good, another miss in the RB department for Licht. Took Charles sims over freeman. Passed on dalvin. Missed on plenty of others last year to draft a terrible player late in the draft and gifted drug Martin the job. This was a deep RB class too. And the HC is notirious for play action and the qb needs a running game to support him (as does this defense)

  2. Durango 95 Says:

    Here’s hoping he gets a load of carries in the remaining exhibitions so Rojo can regain his mojo. Learning that in order to get the second level he has to first learn to stick his nose into the first level. Feeling here is he will eventually get it. Hopefully it comes sooner rather than later.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    “All hands on deck!” AMEN!

    At least Barber is running well so far. It would’ve been nice for our 2nd round RB to transition sooner, but what are you going to do?!
    Vea’s position is less cerebral so I anticipate him acclimating sooner as opposed to later.

  4. Wausa Says:

    I agree the top two picks have not shown us anything yet, but Whitehead, Davis, Stewart and Watson have all showed great promise already.

  5. AlteredEgo Says:

    All Rojo needs is to break a few runs….he will

  6. Wausa Says:

    The success of some of the Bucs other selections is exactly why I think so many fans like their team to trade back and acquire more picks.
    If the Bucs top two picks end up being busts, but Cappa, Stewart, Davis, Whitehead and Watson all end up being high quality starters the 2018 draft will be considered a phenomenal success.

  7. rrsrq Says:

    Not worried about those guys, if they truly have work ethic, ability to study, their talent will come through – I am also not of the belief that if we start 0-3, that the season is doomed, outside of the Panthers, ATL an dNew Orleans schedule is no pansy – they could possibly be 1-2. That being said the NFC is loaded.

    I think offensively we can put up points, I do worry about Fitz somewhat, but I believe we have some fighters in that offensive huddle and some guys this year on the defense that will hold others accountable,

  8. Walter Seidel Says:

    Jason Licht is great, isn’t he?

  9. m0j0 Says:

    Jones might start off slow, but I have a feeling he will eventually get it going and become a key contributor.

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Jones deserves all the skepticism he’s getting. Bell security is everything for a running back. It can easily be fixed if they use the right method. His other issue is the playbook. He’s learning it too slowly. You can tell because QBs are constantly telling him he is in the wrong spot.

    As to Vita Vea, I have a feeling he’s healthier than advertised. Once the cameras are gone, he’ll get practice reps. But remember, he’s been getting reps in minicamps and OTAs.

    I think Vea will end up being Mike Smith’s secret weapon.

  11. joestang Says:

    vea and jones would not have been my picks. Looks like we have no help on D-line and have not upgraded our running back position at all. So many good running backs that were available and we got nothing. Seems like another losing season. Licht is lucky if he is 50% on his pics, he has blown many chances to pick up quality players. Does not seem to be a good judge of talent.

  12. D-Rome Says:

    This article made me chuckle a little bit. First, Joe says:

    >No, there is no need to panic. Or even sweat.

    Which is essentially followed by “Without the starting QB we need *every* person at every position to perform like they’ve never performed or else we’re doomed to an 0-3 start.

  13. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Jeremy McNothing wasn’t just cut because of his inability to learn the offense. He also had a bad attitude about everything.

    I think Rojo is different. I think he might be learning a little slow, but will develop quickly in the regular season. But ball security is a must.

    Time to make him carry that ball every where he goes. Get other players to slap it out of his hands, even on break. And have him spend a little time working as a pass catcher in practice.

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    D-Rome, the difference between the Joes in my opinion:

    One is glass half full.
    The other is glass half empty because there is a leak somewhere.

    It’s a shame, but it is also how some fans feel at this point because of the past 10 years.

  15. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Vita Vea is the exact pick I wanted. I feel confident that he will prove his worth. In a couple years, people will be saying they never doubted.

  16. Destinjohnny Says:

    If Barber gets hurt… Charles Sims is our feature back…..

  17. Destinjohnny Says:

    Ps My bama boy drafted just after vita is tearing it up in dc

  18. BucNole Says:

    Not gonna panic or geek just yet.
    But it would be nice to get these guys into some games and ready for the season.
    I have a feeling they will both just take some time but will be just fine

  19. TonyC Says:

    This exactly why I was hoping they picked up a violent runner who wasn’t afraid to get hit and lean forward for extra yards. This guy has got to stop running outside on every play.

  20. Noledog Says:

    Dalvin cook last year. Derwin James this year. What a collasal blunder

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Vita Vea should be the least of our concerns. He got dinged up early, but while that’s never good, a rookie DT on a talented DLine (we all hope) can probably adjust quicker & get some game-time than say a rookie CB who’s trying to earn a starting slot outside (is Carlton Davis healed up yet BTW Joe?).

    RoJo is a different story IMO. Being explosive is great, but he has to earn his reps with Koetter first (and he doesn’t seem to have done that yet). Playbook issues, pass-catching issues, pass-ptotect issues … not a good look. I agree that he’s the #4 RB at present, but I am ‘concerned’ that we don’t seem to have a great complement to Peyton Barber presently. If he gets dinged up, our running game might be in trouble. Wouldn’t be at all opposed to Licht adding an very experienced RB when the cuts occur. Oh ya, and hopefully a very experienced (and versatile) OLineman and a very experienced outside CB (Justin Case).

  22. TonyC Says:

    Nobody wanted Sims why the heck is he on this roster? This team has had 2 frickin years to find a feature back. Please stop telling me that Licht is a good gm.Ill give you average at best with his poor fa acquisitions.

  23. Tc Says:

    I don’t think vea will contribute much this year. That is why I didn’t like the pick from the beginning. Jones did not have good hands in college (with a good a good quarterback) why did anyone think it would get better in the pros. What bothers me is he can’t even run. The good ones are good right out of the box. You don’t suck and then miraculously become good.

  24. Jeffbuc Says:

    It’s just a typical bucs draft. There were multiple pass rushing 300 pound defensive tackles. We take the run stopping project who has potential. There were numerous three down backs that were of the 220 pound range. And we take the 200 pound scat back who his one knock out of college was he couldn’t catch. And two weeks before the season starts can you believe it he still can’t catch. We have a Ronald Jones on our roster already for league minimum that can actually catch. Charles Sims. So we have waisted a 2nd and 3rd round pick trying to turn scat backs into running backs when we could have just drafted you know a running back. I think kid from auburn the lions picked or Guice would have been a lot better fit. There are a lot of smaller quicker guys that can catch the ball on the streets. Looking for jobs.

  25. TonyC Says:

    They have to make Rojo the feature back tomorrow if not they’ll have no idea what they have with him (as a commodity) going into New Orleans.

  26. Waterboy Says:

    Time for a backup plan at RB before the season starts. I’m not completely sold on Barber as a #1 back but apparently there’s a huge gap between Barber and the next man up.

  27. pelbuc Says:

    Part of me wants to say, “relax” but the other part of me is very much aware of Licht’s history of early round blunders.

  28. miken Says:

    A little scary that it looks like Jones is the 4th best back in camp considering I don’t think Sims or Rogers would make another teams roster.

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Vita Vea & Ronald Jones III: Buy, Sell or Hold?

    The long-term payout on both prospects still remains; relatively prime.
    Just give the young men at little more time – to get acclimated to life in the NFL.

    Besides, If I recall wasn’t there another star “6ft” RB from Texas/USC, who struggled his 1st season in Tampa behind a terrible running blocking offensive line?

    Ricky Bell (1977): 436yd. | 2.9 avg. | 1 TD.

    So be patient! And give these kids time to develop.

  30. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    *terrible run blocking offensive line

  31. Kobe Faker Says:

    “You win thru the draft

    This is why we are at the bottom while

    ATL,NO,and CAR are at the top by hitting on their drafts every year…


    Our talent this year was is from overpaying Free Agent players …



    to pay for our 2014 dafted players



    “Have a nice day”

    Kobe Faker

  32. Casey Morgan Says:

    Jones weighs 208 and is not just a scat back. He has 11 carries behind a back up line. Tomorrow he will bust one for 30+ yards. Be patient…

  33. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Passed on D Cook and then around 8-10 more

  34. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Ronald Jones, bulked-up his 2nd season at USC, and it helped elevate his game.
    Probably needs pack on a few more pounds of muscle, to be really effective at this level. But for now, he’ll be used in a more traditional scatback roll.

    Sidenote: What do U guys think about adding Detroit’s RB Ameer Abdullah to our stable of running backs?

    Potential Running Depth Chart
    PB Peyton Barber | Jacquizz Rodgers
    SB Ronald Jones | Ameer Abdullah

  35. Joe Says:

    All Rojo needs is to break a few runs….he will

    Very likely. As Joe stated above, he just needs to get acclimated. No need to panic in any way. Just wish he was further along.

  36. Ghastly Bucs Says:

    Jones is talented, but if he can’t catch and he can’t block, he is nothing more than a return guy.

  37. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Ameer Abdullah (2017)

  38. Kobe Faker Says:

    JOSH ADAMS- undrafted rookie from Notre Dame drafted by Philly

    Kobe hopes he doesnt light it up tonight…We need to trade for this kid

    Kid could play. Kid played highschool at Doylestown pa where Kobe grew from the streets

    Josh Adams vs our lightweight 199 lber

  39. feelthepewterpower Says:

    What’s the update on Simms’ injury?

  40. Godeep66 Says:

    That’s because he is the worst GM in the league….but you get what you pay for.

  41. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Nevermind (per Rotoworld): Charles Sims’ left knee injury isn’t believed to be serious.
    Sims bowed out with a knee injury in Saturday’s preseason game at Tennessee but as of now, there’s no concern about his status for Week 1. When healthy, Sims will serve as a pass-catching option out of the backfield for Tampa Bay. Aug 19 – 12:47 PM
    Man, Buccs are knocking on wood right now.

  42. AlteredEgo Says:

    Gessh…what a bunch of Nattering nabobs of negativism….

  43. BucEmUp Says:

    Vita v ea injury is something that just happens..That is out of every teams control.

    Barber is an instant upgrade to.doug Martin. SO THE RUNNIN back position is better than last season. God coaching will get Jones where he meds to be.

    A coaching staff coming off of a 5 and 11 season should be more concerned with a defense that leads the league in completion percentage year after year. The only reason the Las led the league on stops on 3rd down is because A-there were never any thirddowns, and when there were they resulted in plays 15 to twenty yards or further.

    B- The opponents would get a ridiculous lead and run it up the middle on third down and intentionally punt to.not risk turnovers, injuries and hang not the lead. It’s pretty obvious.

    C’mon my mother n law could figure this crap out!!!!!

  44. Pickgrin Says:

    RoJo needs to find his MoJo before all these over-reactive jbf MoFos lose all their HoHos and start chugging NoDoze…

    Jones has had exactly 12 game carries – and on 8 or 9 of those runs had absolutely no where to go.

    Vea got hurt his 1st day of camp and they aren’t rushing him back. chit happens. Dude is still one HELL of a physical specimen and has the right attitude from all accounts.

    Both of these high picks have the right mindset. Both have high end talent coming into this league. Patience is required.

    Licht drafts like 5 or 6 future starters in this draft – has hit a Grand Slam (4 starters) in 3 out of the last 4 years which NO other GM in the league has done – yet some of ya’ll (or youse depending on where you are from) are STILL whining that he’s a bad GM who can’t build a team properly…. SMH

  45. Defense Rules Says:

    @Pickgrin … “Jones has had exactly 12 game carries – and on 8 or 9 of those runs had absolutely no where to go.” RoJo has to demonstrate in practice that he’s not a one-trick pony; otherwise, his time on the field will be very limited. He seems to have a tendency to try to bounce it outside … might’ve been effective in college, but in the pro’s where the DEs are masters at sealing the edges & the LBs are fast, going for the end run too often will be challenging.

    I might be wrong Pickgrin, but it sounds like you’re more concerned (like I am) about our OLine’s run-blocking than about RoJo’s ability to rack up yards. Of course, he was rushing behind 2nd line guys most of the time, BUT … it’s looking more and more like several of those 2nd-stringers will be our 1st-line guys for at least part of the season. OLIne depth (or lack of it) is a key issue IMO.

  46. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Pickgrin Says:
    August 23rd, 2018 at 12:16 pm
    RoJo needs to find his MoJo before all these over-reactive jbf MoFos lose all their HoHos and start chugging NoDoze…

    Jones has had exactly 12 game carries – and on 8 or 9 of those runs had absolutely no where to go.

    You have to take into account who was playing offensive line when he took those handoffs. You had guys like Seaton blocking for him.

  47. feelthepewterpower Says:

    RoJo has had few 1st team reps in preseason games because they want to give Barber the bulk of the carries with the one’s, obviously. Where RoJo has hurt himself is in the passing game…with two drops, I believe. In today’s NFL you MUST be able to catch the ball out of the backfield. Most of the great backs do just that….Gurley wasn’t known for catching the ball, but they got him heavily involved under McVay in his second year. Then you have the likes of David Johnson, LeVeon Bell, etc. Being able to catch the ball from your RB spot, keeps defenses off balance. Just another thing that d’s have to worry about.

  48. Pickgrin Says:

    DR Says – “OLIne depth (or lack of it) is a key issue”

    At Tackle in particular. Dotson and Smith are both good players – and then we have nothing but a bunch of UDFA hopefuls with little to no real game experience behind them.

    Dot is 33 years old and has missed 21 games over the last 3 years btw….

    Oh – and its almost September – yet we still have no idea who our starting RG is.

    Oh – and btw – every starter except the center is currently hurt, dinged or recovering..


  49. Jeffauer Says:

    You guys love to claim the current staff cannot develop a cornerback, but what about a running back? Charles Sims has never learned how to run inside.

  50. Joe Says:

    You guys love to claim the current staff cannot develop a cornerback, but what about a running back? Charles Sims has never learned how to run inside.

    Charles Sims was over-drafted to begin with and he certainly wasn’t a first-round pick.

    Fair point, though, on Sims. But Barber (undrafted free agent) has certainly come along quite well.

  51. gilhealy Says:

    They’re both gonna be fine. Way to early to make a call on either one. Rojo is the youngest kid on the team at 21. Give him a break. Once he gets a couple of beauties under his belt, he’ll feel he belongs. Then, it’s on. He and Barber are going to be a nasty one, two punch.

  52. Brandon Says:

    I’ve honestly seen enough of Barber to know that he will be the main RB when the season starts. There’s really no reason to play him for the rest of preseason… there really isn’t. That being said, Jones, Rodgers, Sims, and Wilson should be seeing 1st team action… though we all know what Rodgers and Sims can and can’t do. I just don’t want one of the rookies getting one of our QBs killed. That being said, if the Bucs are smart, we will see a healthier dose of the other RBs for the rest of the preseason.

  53. Buc believer Says:

    I have posted this before… the man is 22-42 as a GM. Let that sink in 22-42.. why should we expect anything different? He is simply performing as he always has.

  54. SOEbuc Says:


    “That’s because he is the worst GM in the league….but you get what you pay for.”

    You’re f#ckin with me right? His mado is build through the draft and he continues to put great players on this team year after year. This is going to be a good young football team when we can get all the pieces in place and that’s not far off.