Upgrade Running Backs

February 4th, 2020


When Joe watched Damien Williams ice the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl in 50 years with a 38-yard run for a touchdown (that looked a lot like John Riggins doing the same against the Dolphins), Joe couldn’t help but think of how that type of run was virtually impossible for the Bucs last year.

Because the Bucs running backs stink.

Oh, Ronald Jones could improve with more touches. Still, does Jones freeze a defense with fear? Unlikely.

Jenna Laine of ESPN took a look at Bucs running backs and sees a group that badly needs an upgrade.

Running back Peyton Barber is an unrestricted free agent. Ronald Jones wound up overtaking him for the starting job midway through the season; Jones averaged 4.21 yards per carry compared with Barber’s 3.05. But Jones is still a liability in blitz pickup. Dare Ogunbowale, the Buccaneers’ third-down back, also surrendered 5.0 sacks. This is a group that needs some improvement.

There is no reason to bring Barber back other than he would come at a rock-bottom cost. But as always, you get what you pay for.

Joe has been of the mind for weeks that the Bucs need to draft a running back no later than the second day of the draft, and sign a free agent running back.

Interestingly, in a three-round mock draft on NFL.com, Chad Reuter has the Bucs picking Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.

Joe wouldn’t mind this at all. To team with Jones and free agent and former Bucco Bruce Arians favorite David Johnson (who Joe expects to be cut by the Cardinals), the Bucs might just have something in the backfield.

34 Responses to “Upgrade Running Backs”

  1. Lunchbox Says:

    Plenty of good RB’s this year to choose from, but Jonathon Taylor is my favorite. Although he might have a little more wear on his wheels from his use in college, the guy PRODUCES, and when he gets in the open field, he rarely gets run down from behind. If we go RB early in the draft, this is the guy I want most.

  2. stpetebucsfan Says:

    His mock works for me…he has us getting the man mountain Bechton in the first and Taylor in the 2nd. Josh Uche and edge rusher from Michigan in the 3rd.
    Do not know about the player but this is exactly how I’d like to see the Bucs select…unless they wish to slip a QB in the 2nd or 3rd round.

    Taylor is only 5-11 215 and I was hoping for a bigger beast mode back but Taylor does run hard and is obviously productive.

  3. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    If jameis is such a great qb and defenses prepare for him and are scared of him because he throws for ungodly stats, shouldnt the defenses the bucs face be in more nickel and softer the entire game? Thus the bucs should be able to run the ball. So lichts expensive OL possibly is terrible and also his rb evaluation is terrible. Look at the super bowl RBs, undrafted…but the 2 OCs for the teams are innovative and creative and on the cutting edge…something needs to change

  4. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    Hard to have those runs when the backs get hit in the backfield and this soft overpaid line can’t run block

  5. Marine Buc Says:

    I like JK Dobbins from Ohio State in round #2.

  6. james west Says:

    eason, taylor,edge rusher, o line, saftey, BPA, BPA, sign a vet qb vet saftey

  7. RagingBrisket Says:

    Funny the criticism of Jones above presupposes the Bucs oline is of the same caliber as KCs. What a joke! Both SF and KC olines turn average RBs into superstars. The inverse occurs in Tampa!

  8. PSL Bob Says:

    Totally agree Joe. Get Jonathan Taylor in the 2nd round and pick up a vet in FA. For those criticizing the O-line, it’s the old chicken and egg conundrum. Is it the RB or the O-line. With a stout running back that can break tackles, the O-line will look pretty damn good, particularly if we get a stud O-lineman to replace Dotson.
    I’m not giving up on ROJO. Get him out in space and he’s very good. Pair him with a stud RB and you get that Thunder and Lightning combo. Put that together with a superb passing game and you’ve got a playoff caliber team, WITH OR WITHOUT Jameis.

  9. SammyRebel Says:

    I like Taylor, was really hoping for Ettiene to declare but I like a couple rbs this draft we have to see where we go in FA before we talk this foolishness

  10. Donkc Says:

    Jimmy G gonna cost 49ers 26M. They be in salary cap hell. Letting him go saves them 22+M in cap space. They’re a running team – anybody can sling it 20 times a game. How’d he look in the new Bucs gear? Heck, he might even want to sample the female denizens along Dale Mabry. I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’….

  11. WyomingDude Says:

    Hope we’re not depending on that highlight reel for a representative sample of his worth, versatility, heading. Went through the 8 1/2 minute clip and counted all of ONE pass..one..thrown to him. Which is now 50% of today’s NFL RB usage. Also, his competition played against in the Big 10 is atrocious (except Ohio State–and no Mcihigan is not a defense anymore). Had that highlight reel been against SEC defenses then we might have something. Then we’ll need to see his pass pro blitz pickup at the combine too.

    Still…second round is likely too high for our exact situation this year. 3rd seems reasonable with our existing picks, if everything above is addressed.

  12. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Does Jonathan Taylor have a fumbling problem? If he does, would you still want him? I’ve heard a lot about turnovers on here.

  13. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I read that he had 18 fumbles in 41 games.

  14. Sleepy903 Says:

    JK dobbins is my pick in the second round. If we wait until the 3rd then I say Zack Moss. Anything latter has to be Antonio Gibson not a lot of reps a RB but he can play the position and he is an athlete. We could still draft him with JK dobbins because he can play WR and contribute as KR as well.

  15. Buczilla Says:

    I’d take Reuter’s mock draft for us in a heartbeat! I think that Becton will be long gone by 14 though.

  16. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    Taking a running back in the first 2 rounds is exactly what I would expect Jason Lichtweight to do, especially when we desperately need young, quality o-line and d-line bodies.

    What happened to Leveon Bell this season without Pittsburgh’s offensive line blocking for him? Funny he didn’t magically transform an average o-line into a juggernaut. But so many people here were advocating for the Bucs to chase him. Now he just looks overpaid.

  17. CrackerBall Says:

    Not normally a fan of FSU players – but I do like Cam Akers. If he were sitting there in Round 3, it would be tough to pass him up.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    I like this kid speed patience power n vision

  19. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Licht would’ve taken an O-Lineman last year, if that’s what Arians wanted. We needed one, and didn’t take any. My guess would be that we sign a lower tier free agent OT (Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Dennis Kelly, Marcus Gilbert, or Joe Haeg) or trade for a vet. I think we’ll go RB/OL in the 3rd and 4th rounds.

  20. TBUC North Carolina Says:

    Same here Crackerball. I’m a Gator fan but we would be lucky to get Akers in the 3rd!! Good back indeed IMO

  21. BucDan Says:

    Dusthy – Was the Lions o-line in the 90s the reason why Barry Sanders is considered one of the greatest RBs of all time? Hell no! He was a phenomenal talent that could change the dynamic of a game using his skill set alone!

    Same could be said for LaDanian Tomlinson and more recently Saquan Barkley and, in my opinion, Christian McCaffrey.

    Having a great o-line DEFINITELY helps, but RB skill is still needed. OR you end up like Trent Richardson and ESPN/NFLN showing clips of monster holes that are not being run through.

  22. Craig Says:

    Wait until round 3 and pick either Dobbins or Akers. Taylor will be gone early in 2.

    Ask a couple of undrafted RBs and a QB or two to camp. If you can get Killins as undrafted, grab him. He might be the next Kammara.

  23. 813bucboi Says:

    plenty of RBs in this draft….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  24. bucsfaninoregon Says:

    One of the first mock drafts by a major news had exactly zero running backs in 1st round. There will be tons of backs in the draft. Get an OL or Edge rusher in 1st, Eason in 2nd, RB in 3rd, OL in the 4th.
    Sign a vet DB and QB and dump famous Jameis.

  25. martinii Says:

    I like Dobbins because he has better hands, but Taylor would be a great pick also. Problem is these guys will probably go higher in the draft than we think. Be prepared to use your first rounder but I doubt either will be around at 45. Of course I believe that our biggest need is RB so a first round option doesn’t bother me. Get your OL in RD2/RD3.

  26. geno711 Says:

    Draft is about picking best player available so you have less holes.
    Last year the Buc’s picked a linebacker who could play, 2 corners that could play and a safety that could play in this league.
    Last draft hope they still get part time starting capability out of Anthony Nelson and Scotty Miller. Plus if Gay can be a little more consistent he will turn out to be a solid late round pick.

    The good news is that the Buc’s did not reach for a bad class of offensive lineman last year. Other than the New Orleans center the rest of the offensive line class under performed their draft slot.

    The good news is this draft is loaded with offensive lineman that can step in and play for you in year one.

    Don’t reach for a running back – none of them have a top 15 grade. If available, it would be great to get the Wisconsin guy or Ohio State guy in the 2nd round. If not, get the LSU guy or the FSU guy in the next round. Both of those guys catch the ball and can run the ball way better than Dare.

    If you don’t get a running back in the draft because the way the draft falls, don’t cry. Just try to accumulate good players.

  27. mark2001 Says:

    Joe in Michigan…do they still play football in that state?

    Taylor did have five fumbles last year.. in 320 carries and 2000 yards.

    Swift had four fumbles last years.. in 196 carries and over 1200 yards

    Etienne had four fumbles last year… in 207 carries and over 1600 yards.

    So none of these guys have fumbling issues from time to time. Considering the number of carries, Taylor has no more than the other top backs.

  28. mark2001 Says:

    Dobbins… 5 fumbles in 301 attempts and 2003 yards.

    Just saying..no one is without fumbles…. one every 50 or 60 attempts.

    And BTW..to be precise, that is “attempts”…not “carries”.

  29. ClwJB Says:

    We only have two holes on O – RB and RT – would sign a solid FA at both and add 1st and 2nd round picks at the same position respectively

    I like DAndre Swift best and David Johnson as the vet – we need a true game breaker

    Maybe Dot is the vet and draft the Houston kid if he falls to the 2nd

    We can’t go into next season with Vince Workman Oops I mean Peyton or Dare in any capacity

  30. Joeypoppems Says:

    Haven’t watched much of the RBs this year, but Taylor, JK Dobbins, and DeAndre Swift seem to be the consensus top 3.

    But lets be honest. Idk if it will take much investment to upgrade the position group lol

  31. alaskabuc Says:

    Can’t help shake the feeling that Taylor’s game won’t transition well to the pros. Give me Dobbins or CEH22.

  32. SB Says:

    Jonathan Taylor is an upgrade to ALL of our backs.

  33. Bucemup Says:

    We all see the Bucs need an upgrade at RB but do the Bucs? Remember the year we needed D lineman bad and in the draft they had a plethora? Well we didn’t draft a single one. Remember when Dalvin Cook was on the board and every Bucs fan said wow there goes our running back and we picked Howard? Don’t hold your breath for a top Back in this up coming draft! We all see we need one but some how some way the Bucs will gamble and pick one late and he will end up being 💩.

  34. MadMax Says:

    Zakk Moss in the 3rd….or a different Taylor, Patrick Taylor in the 4th (derek henry clone) We need a big back to compliment Rojo.