The Buccaneers have the best running back combination in the NFL. Could they add Daniel Lasco II to that stable?
The Buccaneers are known to be targeting defense in next week’s upcoming draft, but they seem to be interested in some offensive players in the later rounds. Right tackle, wide receiver, and fullback are all positions the Bucs need youth at, but one position they have also looked into is running back. Daniel Lasco II out of California has mentioned that he has been in talks with the Bucs multiple times. One time means there is interest, but multiple times means Jason Licht and his staff are investing their time into the prospect.
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Tampa has the best one-two-punch in the NFL with Doug Martin and Charles Sims because of their dual threat capabilities. Daniel Lasco, who is very similar, fits that mold that Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht are looking for. Lasco is a dual threat running back who can bruise you on the ground and catch out of the backfield with ease. If the Bucs are able to add more youth to the backfield, it could help the team tremendously in the long run. Lasco, a senior captain standing 6’1″ 210 pounds, finished his career with 2,395 career all-purpose yards over 41 games. Unfortunately, he was limited in 2015 due to an injury, but even after he is still considered to be one of the nation’s top backs.
Lasco’s performance at the East-West Shrine game and the combine were both noteworthy. During the East-West Shrine game, he was able to rush for 62 yards on six rushes, one of them being for 42 yards.
The combine results were no slack either, earning him a “workout warrior” label. Lasco was able to win Top Performer in four events, the forty yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, and sixty yard shuttle. Lasco’s explosion is evident in his 4.46 second 40, his 41.5 inch vertical, and his 135 inch broad jump.
Here’s a look at his strengths and weaknesses according to his draft profile:
"StrengthsAthletic short-strider with potential to make a quick cut to avoid contact. Inconsistent play speed, but does show a second gear to burst past a tackler. Has some “getaway” in the open field when he sees daylight. Highly productive 2014 campaign creates hope that 2015 injury was primarily responsible for on-field issues. Has adequate hands and was a weapon out of the backfield in 2014. Productive on cover teams at Cal and has potential to be special teams contributor.WeaknessesNot an instinctive runner between the tackles. Slow to process development of running lanes and appears unable to make late decisions and keep the run alive. Needs to show more creativity as a runner. Leaves too many yards out on the field due to lack of vision. Too quick to give in and end the run. Suffered through a hip injury in 2015 that robbed him of effectiveness and confidence. Needs to run with more urgency and desire. Gears down rather than accelerates when contact is imminent. Yardage after contact numbers are below average."
Here is some of his tape, a full game and a highlight reel.
Personally, I believe the expert opinions on Lasco are a little harsh. Yes, I do believe some of the comments posted above are evident in his tape, but I do believe Lasco has great potential in the NFL. Even with Doug Martin, Charles Sims, and Mike James on the roster, I believe drafting Lasco in the later rounds could help in the long run. Jason Licht smartly made Doug Martin’s contract front-loaded. His first two years are where he earns his guaranteed money, which means after these two years Martin could be easily let go. Yes, Martin had a great 2015 season, but let’s not easily forget how he has been plagued with injuries throughout his career.
If Daniel Lasco is still around in the later rounds, drafting him and grooming him for a few years would be ideal. Having Martin, Sims, and Lasco as a three-headed monster in the backfield would be terrifying to opposing defenses. Lasco has the work ethic, the leadership qualities, and the dual threat ability that the Bucs are looking for. Team him up with a young fullback such as Dan Vitale, and the future of the Bucs’ backfield will be in good hands.