The Buccaneers may still take a running back in the 2021 NFL Draft.
While it may not seem like a massive need for now, it is hard to ever rule the Buccaneers out from taking a running back in the draft. The 2021 NFL Draft should be no different.
Even in a backfield that is bringing back its main contributors from last season and added a top-tier free agent to pair with Tom Brady, there is still a decent chance that at least one back joins the Bucs later this week.
Early on in the year, it looked like the Buccaneers would try to target one of the top running backs at the end of the first round. It seems like they’ve already started printing Najee Harris jerseys in Pittsburgh, so he shouldn’t be an option, but Travis Etienne and Javonte Williams could be available at the end of the first.
Both of these backs would be improvements over some of the players currently on the roster, but probably not enough to make the most of their selection this year. In an effort to maximize the value of the pick on this position, Tampa will probably look in the later rounds.
Assuming the Bucs want someone that isn’t too much of a wild card and a safe bet to remain on the team next season (only Ke’Shawn Vaughn is currently slated to return), they will want to target some of the options in the middle rounds.
Based on this criteria, Kenneth Gainwell and Kylin Hill look like great fits. Gainwell projects to be a more versatile version of Antonio Gibson with the ability to catch passes as well as anyone at the position, and Hill has a very similar skillset to a player like Cam Akers.
Both options could be great if the Buccaneers set them up in the right way, and neither would break the bank from a capital standpoint. In the end, this mostly comes down to desired skillset. If the Bucs want more of a hybrid, Gainwell is the better fit. If Jason Licht wants to take a chance on a player who can be a three-down option next year, Kylin Hill would be better.
Prediction: Kenneth Gainwell-He brings more as a receiver and could get far more reps than anyone else drafted at this position on the 2021 Buccaneer roster.
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