Will The Bucs Take Advantage?

February 10th, 2020

Breakout in 2020?

For the past, oh, six years or so, the Bucs have treated the running back position like a pair of car floor mats.

It isn’t very often one buys a pair of floor mats.

As a result, with past drafts loaded with running backs, the Bucs sat on the sidelines and watched good backs get picked through like old ladies handling the tomatoes at the produce rack.

By the time the Bucs were motivated to get a running back, it seemed like going to Publix for tomatoes at 8 p.m. Anything good or remotely decent was gone.

So the Bucs are in the position they are now with an offense lethal through the air but limp on the ground.

Oh yes, the Bucs drafted Ronald Jones in the second round. That seemed like a sharp pick. After a thoroughly pathetic rookie season, he showed a glimpse or two last season that he belongs in the NFL. But is last season his high-water mark? Joe believes that is a fair question.

Hey, it happens once in a while, a top-shelf prospect doesn’t cut it. That’s the crapshoot of the draft.

Jones’ rookie year should have scared the Bucs enough to go get a running back who was an NFL-quality starter, just in case Jones was a complete washout. Instead, the Bucs signed has-been Andre Ellington. who didn’t make the team out of training camp, and brought back Dare Ogunbowale.

No further comment needed.

Running back is clearly the worst position on the Bucs’ roster.

Dane Brugler of The Athletic points out this year’s draft is deep in running backs.

There is a decent chance that this year’s draft class does not produce a top-20 running back, but we should see a run at the position shortly after that in the late first and early second round. The top four backs in my rankings are legitimate top-50 talents who can step in and make impacts as rookies.

But the depth of talent at the position doesn’t end there.

So here we are once again: The Bucs have a glaring need (running back) and the draft allegedly is deep at running back. A perfect intersection of fates, right?

Will the Bucs be aggressive and resolve the running back issue? Or will the team once again sit this draft out trying to fix this position, and then enter training camp wanting a quality back like a panhandler at an I-275 exit ramp wanting spare change?

25 Responses to “Will The Bucs Take Advantage?”

  1. SteveK Says:


    I share your love of pass rush and running game, combined with the confusion for the team’s preference for Heargraves, kickers and other head scratching picks.

    When Laremy Tunsil was available for our pick, even after we traded back with the bears- we still chose Heargraves over Tunsil. Tunsil fetched 2+ 1sts in a trade. We gave VH3 away.

    Let’s hope Bowles gets to pick some lore defense. He’s a boss.

  2. Buczilla Says:

    Not holding my breath for Arians/Licht to do the right thing.

  3. SKBucsfan Says:

    How about Licht does the smart thing and worries about building the O-line first? Anybody can run if the holes are there. Quit worrying about drafting a running back high. Those days are over.

  4. Pewter power Says:

    Oh yea invest a top pick in a running back, rojo was a disappointing rookie and that’s what uneducated expect is that a team gives a guy one year to succeed and he’s done.

    Hey licht how about you stop using 4th round picks on secondary help and go get a running back. Rojo will be fine with another year to improve pass blocking, that’s what we really need, I don’t wanna see an undrafted rookie out there on 3rd down

  5. BigMacAttack Says:

    Both good points. Draft an OT in the first and a RB in the 2’nd.

  6. Sleepy903 Says:

    Antonio Gibson – Not much wear as a RB. However he is Football player. I doubt Tampa uses an early pick on RB unless BA insist we do. If we dont he played all over the field in college. RB/WR/KR. Pairing him with Rojo should be work out nicely.

    If they draft an Olineman early w/ Antonio and Rojo will shine. If they can get to the second level consistently watch out. Both will be a threat to take it to the house every touch. Unless they are having to make cuts in the backfield.

  7. footballjunkie Says:

    Look at the scrutiny that Licht brought on himself by picking ROJO in the secound round just two years ago, box of rocks and all that ROJO is. Two years later, this..is the extent of his development and his worth.

    Add in BA now becoming coach.

    You think BA wants to keep waiting at 68 for ROJO, or better yet, draft another green rookie to then take forever to become maybe something, when BA is 70??? No. Nope. And Licht, can bring that scrutiny AGAIN on himself by picking a 2nd or 3rd round RB, basically admitting ROJO didn’t pan out as a starting RB (which 2nd round picks at any position ARE).

    Sooo…the RB scheme needs to move now, and on BA’s timeline. LeVeon Bell’s contract has ZERO guaranteed $$$ after this season. NYJ want to dump his contract. They will eat $4 million this year to unload Bell to us, leaving us to pay $9.5 million in 2020 for a 27 year old (26 having taken one year off from football), for a true 3 down RB that has the wisdom, pace, pass catching prowess, playoff experience, AND is healthier than both DJ and Melvin Gordon at this point in his career.

    LeVeon fits BA’s timeline of fixing the position NOW, and his existing contract gives us complete flexibility after this season. $9.5 million for one year of THAT TALENT is h3ll yeah worth it.

    Draft OL and DL plus depth. Land Bell!

  8. doolnutts Says:

    I was deeply concerned about Rojo his rookie year but this year I did see improvement. I think a lot of our running issues are on the OL. I am not saying the OL is all to blame but I don’t think they are dominate take over the game type of line. I think a RT in round 1 or 2 this year will really go a long way.

    I am not sure it is entirely fair to blame Rojo for what we saw last season. He is not getting a full work load of touches at 170. It should be at least 250 to 300 carries a year before we judge what he can do. Screwing around with Barber was not the right move. I like Barber, runs hard good dude but it was clear to anyone watching who the better back was. Rojo finished with a 4.1 rushing average which could be improved with a dominant OL.


  9. Sleepy903 Says:

    footballjunkie – Good take. I like that move and I think he will definitely get his fair share of carries. IF he inst a headache when he doesn’t then I will be all for it.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Last year I wanted the Bucs to draft Bo Scarborough in the late rounds. Dallas picked him up instead, but ended up releasing him. Detroit picked him up with 6 games to go in the season, and Bo gave them 377 yards on 89 carries (4.2 YPC). What’s impressive though is that his Yards BEFORE Contact (YBC) was 183 yards but his Yards AFTER Contact (YAC) was 194 yards. Bucs NEED someone like that. Bucs need a big back like that (6’1″ & 235 lbs) who could be a good complement to RoJo.

    There aren’t very many like that in this year’s draft, but one is Boston College’s A.J. Dillon (6′ & 245 lbs). A definite power back who got 1,685 yards in 2019 (5.3 YPC) for a mediocre (6-7) BC team. Good candidate to be used as a fullback also (and a pass blocking back?). Walter Football expects him to be drafted in Rnds 3-5.

    A nice Rnd 2 pick would be Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins (5’10” & 214 lbs). Any RB who averages 6.7 YPC for the season & accumulates over 2,000 rushing yards with 21 TDs must be doing something right. Walter Football projects him to go in Rnds 2-3.

    If it was up to me, I’d draft BOTH. One in Rnd 2; the other in Rnd 5 (IF he was still there). That’d give us a very young RB stable, but it’d be fun to see who ends up being lead dog.

  11. Danny Says:

    I attend every BC game. You don’t want AJ Dillon behind this OL.

  12. martinii Says:

    All I hear is the need for RB, running game, balance attack, another weapon for Jameis. I am inclined to think it’s the most approach-avoidance position over the past 5 years. If you strap on a pair and go for a day one/two pick your an idiot if you wait till the later rounds or UFDA you get what you pay for. The Buc’s have tried both approaches and so far neither have actually produced. Be advised you will not get Taylor or Dobbins in the 2nd RD. My recommendation is WR and forget about running game. Just throw the ball 60 times a game. OR if ya really want to shake things up draft Jalen Hurts in the 3rd round and mix in the Wildcat.

  13. footballjunkie Says:

    Thanx Sleepy…its a pretty sound plan on making a bold yet prudent move to add LeVeon for 2020. A 5th round pick to the Jets would get it done, and they kick in the $4 mill this year. Jets Oline was beyond trash. BA would love his multifaceted skill set and veteran status, plus prior Steelers ties.

    In 2021 and 2022, zero guaranteed cash left, and we have total control/options, after we see how 2020 goes with his talent upgrade at the position.

    Someone should relay all this…to BA. Which is..Licht.

  14. footballjunkie Says:

    Hopefully it ends up on their desk.

  15. El Buco Realisto Says:

    GM is the “weakest” position for the Bucs currently!!!!!!!!!!!! How many shots and redrafts are joe and the sheep going to allow this clown to get!!!!!!!!!!!! 7th offseason, with still so many holes!!!!!!!!! Maybe another lost season will finally prove it to joe and the sheep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Danny … Sounds like you’ve got the best first-hand knowledge about AJ Dillon. Got me curious … Why not him as a late round pick? What’s the issue with him IOW?

  17. chris L Says:

    to be fair you roasted the bucs for not getting henderson in the third round. he didnt do anything this year and that is with a run first offense in LA.

  18. catcard202 Says:

    I have no worries about TB drafting “AppleSauce”…Won’t happen.
    Rugged power back for a Run-1st team….& that’s not the TB OFF at all.

    If he runs a sub 4.6(HIGH 4.5’S) in Indy…. He’s still a 4th Rd pick.
    If he does the 4.66-4.68 I think he’ll put up…. Day3 & someone getting a steal.
    (I would peg him going in the 5th to Buffalo, right now – before Indy measurables/medicals)

  19. PSL Bob Says:

    Don’t forget, we also need a safety. Safety in first and RB in the second. Address the immediate O-line issue (Dotson) in FA and draft some development lineman in later rounds.

  20. Craig Says:

    RoJo seems to be the kind of back who needs a hole opened for him. The only decent games he had were when Cappa got healthy and blasted open lanes for him.

    With a RT who can run block and an actual run scheme, he could get 1200 yards. His running on every first down won’t do anything but waste that down.

    I don’t know if it was Leftwich growing pains, or a QB who can’t get past 2 on his progressions, but the Bucs offensive was pretty damn vanilla last season.

    Still like trading down in first round, grabbing either Delpit or McKinney, then use two picks in 2 for a QB and a RB. After that D or O line.

  21. geno711 Says:

    I follow Dane Brugler more than anyone else on the NFL draft.

    Dane has his highest running back rated as number 21 overall.
    He has just 4 running backs in the top 50.

    If you believe in those rankings don’t be surprised if we don’t pick a running back in the 1st or 2nd round.

    He says running backs matter but just within the context of cost and value.
    There is a decent chance that this year’s draft class does not produce a top-20 running back, but we should see a run at the position shortly after that in the late first and early second round.

    He actually says that he only expects the top four backs in his rankings make impacts as rookies.

  22. Bucemup Says:

    Our drafts never go how I envision them. A young running back to pair with Jones seems like the logical thing to do but some how some way the Bucs will try to out smart every one once again and pick a no name guy or a guy that was clocked at 4.65/4.7. Happens all the time. I dream of Dobbins popping one to the house for 70 and in the same game Jones pops one for 50 and it’s off to the races. Play action has Evans and Godwin running free all over the field. But then I awaken from my dream only to see some guy we drafted in the 5th rd that I have to YouTube and come to find out his highlight tape is two minutes long with one breakaway run in a garbage time game. Please Bruce call the shots this year and don’t let Jason talk to you about any running back he likes!

  23. Old Time Buc Says:

    I envision us finally getting trench guys, but alas I have envisioned this before.

  24. Lunchbox Says:

    I’ve been watching A LOT of tape on this year’s RB’S and there is talent all throughout the draft. For example, look up the highlights for Anthony McFarland Jr. That’s right, Booger’s son. He’s really fast, but he’s got moves too. I think he could probably be had in the 4th or 5th round.

  25. Joe Says:

    Don’t forget, we also need a safety. Safety in first and RB in the second.

    Don’t agree. The Bucs had one of the best defenses in the NFL the last few weeks of the season and that is with those safeties.

    Yes, safety is thin as can be, no doubt. It’s not a hole in the roster like running back.