As fans and analysts start trying to “figure out” the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one player, in particular, could surprise everyone.
With all of the anticipation and intrigue going into the 2020 season for the Buccaneers, it would almost be impossible for anyone to have a perfect understanding of how the team will function.
The Bucs have new faces throughout their offense and will also have some new names starting on defense if everything proceeds according to plan.
The one area of the roster that has started to receive a jump in interest after the draft is running back. The Buccaneers seem to think that Ronald Jones is a bonafide starter, but they also brought in Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Raymond Calais in the draft.
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The first thought that most people would have when seeing these selections is that they will now be the three new backs for the Bucs moving forward, leaving out Dare Ogunbowale.
Ogunbowale was the typical rags to riches NFL story after making it onto the active roster for the Buccaneers after spending several years bouncing around the NFL. Just to make the story better, Ogunbowale was also a captain for Tampa Bay last year during his first full season and took on the majority of the third-down reps at running back.
The interesting part about this story is that most people have already penciled in Vaughn as the primary third-down back, but with the atypical offseason in play and the Bucs’ unfortunate history of running back draft picks, Ogunbowale could maintain his job.
This occurrence would undoubtedly come as a surprise, but it can’t be totally out of the question considering the circumstances last season. Ogunbowale has already proven himself as a blocker on passing downs and is a more-than-capable receiver. Running the football may be another story, but third-down backs do get a boost playing alongside Tom Brady.
Ogunbowale’s stats last season, even as a receiver, didn’t jump off the page, but that was likely more due to the system rather than his level of play. Bruce Arians was focused on preserving the deep ball rather than checking down in 2019, but that could change with Tom Brady.
Even if Vaughn does show out as the third-down back, there is a good chance that Ogunbowale keeps his job. In a year like this, keeping proven entities on the roster rather than unproven rookies is still a sound decision.
As both a captain and a versatile option on special teams, Dare Ogunbowale could be a dark horse candidate for most improved on the Buccaneers in 2020 if he remains on the team.