The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have selected Mike James, running back from Miami, who will now be the Buccaneers final selection of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Buccaneers traded up in the draft to secure James, and in doing so surrendered the seventh round pick just acquired from the Patriots in the trade for Jeff Demps.
As a senior, the runner from Miami averaged 4.2 yards per carry, scoring six times. The 5 foot 11 inch tall back also contributed in the passing game, catching the ball 30 times at over 11 yards per reception, and scoring 3 times in the passing game.
James was the strongest running back at the combine, lifting 225 pounds 28 times at the bench press event. He still managed to be in the 4.5 second range in the 40 yard dash, and has a 35 inch vertical leap. In other words, he’s a well-rounded athlete who has more natural ability than football talent at this point in his football career.
STRENGTHS Powerful build, with a thick lower half. Runs behind his pads, and keeps his legs churning on contact. Fights for the extra yard, often falls forward. Tough to bring down with arm tackles. Patient runner, always his blocks to develop. Light feet, and surprising agility. Runs with balance. Good blocker, can contribute on special teams.
WEAKNESSES Not a burner, won’t break off many big runs. Initial explosiveness is only average. Vision isn’t great, fill miss open running lanes. Will find himself on his tippy-toes dancing in the backfield too much for a runner of his size.
NFL COMPARISON BenJarvus Green-Ellis
BOTTOM LINE James has displayed great versatility throughout his career as a Hurricane. Has had success with different running concepts. He has a good build, runs hard, blocks well, and has shown a willingness to play, and contribute on a special teams unit. While he lacks elite athletic tools, he looks like a very solid running back who will make a roster, and possibly contribute much more as a Day 3 pick.
In other words, he is a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, which is the opposite of the recently departed LeGarrette Blount. James adds an excellent third down back and backup for Doug Martin, because he’s able to catch, block, and run. The Buccaneers obviously saw something in him, and believed another team wanted James, because they traded up to select him.
Give us your take on the trade by grading the selection below:
I give this pick a B. I believe he may have been taken a bit early compared to his consensus value, but there’s something we don’t know that triggered the trade up. He’s a perfect fit as a backup, because he’s able to fill multiple roles, so defenses won’t be able to determine what the Buccaneers are doing when he takes the field.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below about this latest addition to the Buccaneers.