Buccaneers 2017 NFL Draft: Evaluating the Last Five Picks at Number 84
2012: Bernard Pierce
If the Buccaneers were to choose a running back in this round, it clearly wouldn’t be the first time.
Despite the trip to the conference championship game in 2011, the Baltimore Ravens looked to add to their stable of running backs here. They were ranked 10th in the league in 2011 and were looking for more. So their third round selection was Bernard Pierce out of Temple University. Here is an overview from his draft profile:
"Pierce is an early-entry junior who had a very productive career at Temple. He is an athletic back who had a tough time staying healthy, which could be a concern for teams. He has good vision and can cut back across the field when jammed up. He isn’t very powerful and likely would excel working within a zone-blocking offense in which he can take one cut and go. He has middle-round value."
That assessment turned out to be absolutely right. He showed some promise as a rookie, running the ball 108 times for 532 yards, a 4.9 yards per carry clip. Pierce wasn’t a starter but he was providing a spark when coming in for Ray Rice. In the playoffs he ran the ball 39 times for 202 yards, moving his pace to 5.2 yards per carry. Could Pierce be the long-term second fiddle in Baltimore?
Unfortunately, the production tailed off. He only averaged 2.9 yards per carry on 152 carries in 2013. Pierce did increase his reception totals, however, from seven to twenty. The following year he ran the ball at 3.9 yards per carry clip, but saw his carries reduce from 152 to 96. He only caught two passes and was gone, in Jacksonville for 2015. Pierce only carried the ball six times and was on injured reserve in December.
He didn’t play at all in 2016 and was signed by the Broncos for the new year. Clearly he has been mediocre at best, and if the Bucs want a running back here, they are going to have to find better than this guy.