Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tom Brady’s potential new backfield

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The aggressive free agency approach from Licht paid dividends and the Buccaneers now have the best quarterback in history for the next two years.

After all the understandable hype around TB12 arriving in Tampa has died down, many fans will look at the other gaps on the Buccaneers offense, and one clear gap is at running back.

The first question facing Licht and Arians is whether to use free agency again and target a proven guy who is capable of taking over from Ronald Jones and be the starter from day one. The second option, and the more probable, is looking to the draft, so let’s start with that.

Draft Options

There are a lot of intriguing backs in the draft this year, and interestingly the level of talent projected in the 1st and 2nd rounds aren’t TOO much different from the 4th and 5th. Let me explain.

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A popular pick amongst Bucs fans is D’Andre Swift. He is a sure-fire stud but will almost certainly be a first-round pick. If the Bucs go full offensive mode and decide to just try and outscore the opposition every game then it’s an option, but very unlikely.

In the mid-rounds guys like JK Dobbins, AJ Dillon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire have all been discussed by Bucs fans. Going offensive line in the first two rounds and then picking up one of these guys is a decent plan, but only if they are still available in the 3rd or 4th rounds.

My point above refers particularly to AJ Dillon and D-Swift. Dillon could easily drop to as low as the 5th round whereas Swift is a definite 1st rounder. I certainly know which option provides the best value to the Buccaneers and it’s not Swift, despite his undoubted ability.

Free Agency Options

Forget Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon, the one guy I really want to see us pick up in free agency at running back is Dion Lewis.

Lewis and Brady have history and a great connection on the field. Lewis would be the perfect receiving back to complement a guy like Ronald Jones without making Jones feel undervalued or underused. Plus, he’s cheap in comparison.

Other cheap receiving back options are former Washington Redskins player, Chris Thompson. Thompson is a similar player to Lewis but just not quite as consistent, and Devonate Booker, a former Bronco who is also in the same mold but won’t exactly excite Bucs fans.

Devonta Freeman, LeSean McCoy, Carlos Hyde, and Lamar Miller are also still available, but would be more expensive and have a major impact on Ronald Jones’ snaps and probably aren’t the type of player Arians and Brady are looking for.

My Opinion

I believe the Bucs should give Ronald Jones another full year as the starter and show some trust in a guy that has done nothing to prove he can’t be a consistent and productive starter in the NFL. Yes, he didn’t set the world on fire last year, but in a pass crazy offense the Bucs could’ve had Christian McCaffrey in the backfield and he still wouldn’t have been overly productive.

Brady loves receiving backs, everyone knows that. The Buccaneers are in preliminary talks with Dion Lewis to come in and be that guy which, in my opinion, would be the perfect pick up. He wouldn’t cost too much and he won’t challenge to be the every-down back that Jones could develop into. Heck, he may even help Rojo improve his receiving skills too.

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With these two solid guys, we can then look to the later rounds of the draft for a backup. My first option if he’s still there in the 4th or 5th rounds is AJ Dillon. Another option who should be available in the 6th round and may even go undrafted is DeeJay Dallas out of Miami. Averaging six yards per carry last year, Dallas would be a little risk/big reward option for Tampa Bay.

Potential lineup for 2020:

Starter – Ronald Jones

Receiving Back – Dion Lewis

Back-Up – AJ Dillon/DeeJay Dallas

BUCS FANS – what should happen at the RB position? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!