Despite an apparent need at the position, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should avoid taking a running back early in this year’s draft.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are selecting at pick number nineteen in the 2017 NFL Draft. This has led to a lot of parody as to whom the Buccaneers will be selecting in the upcoming draft due to everything that can occur in front of them.
Despite this, one selection has been gaining steam throughout this offseason and the noise has been increasing ever since the combine and the start of free agency. Dalvin Cook to Tampa Bay.
On the surface, the move seems perfect. Cook was on the same FSU team as Jameis Winston in college and would provide an instant boost to a position that Tampa struggled with last year.
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However, there are multiple reasons why Tampa should avoid selecting any running back in the first, including Cook.
To start off just look at the depth of running backs in the upcoming draft. You can find explosive and exciting running backs deep into round three and perhaps even round four. Guys like Kareem Hunt or Marlon Mack. This should allow Tampa to address other, more pressing needs earlier. Positions like safety, offensive line, and tight end would help Tampa more than running back in this specific draft early.
In addition, our offensive line wasn’t really known for creating holes for whichever running back was in the backfield last year. The Buccaneers ranked last in the NFL in power run success last year at just 47% and were stuffed at the line of scrimmage a league-leading 24% of the time. Adding a new center and perhaps a new left guard, depending on if J.R Sweezy returns, could prove to be more valuable and help the running game more so then adding someone like Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey in round 1.
Furthermore, we simply have more pressing needs elsewhere, specifically safety. If we can find a really solid safety in the draft are defense can perhaps take the next step and become a bonafide elite unit. By adding a potential game changer to the weakest position on our defense it can improve our coverage throughout the defense. Most importantly, players like Vernon Hargreaves III won’t be dismantled whenever they make any type of mistake by a lack of safety help due to missed assignments.
There are simply too many options available at perhaps the deepest position in the draft to take one early on when we have quite a few needs we still need to fill. Especially, if we have a chance to get a guy like Kareem Hunt or Marlon Mack in the third or possibly even the fourth round.
Yes, we should look at all possible running backs in the upcoming draft as any team who needs a running back should. However, we also need to look at ALL of the holes on the roster and what positions are top heavy as compared to others that are stocked full of talent. Like running back.