Buccaneers: Ronald Jones needs to put it all together in 2021

Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Ronald Jones can take the next step with the Buccaneers in 2021. 

Ronald Jones is currently the best running back on the roster for the Buccaneers. Despite the presence of Leonard Fournette and Giovanni Bernard, Jones still has the opportunity to emerge as the clear starter in 2021.

Jones has all of the upside to be a top-10 three-down back in the NFL. With great speed, the ability to change direction fluidly in the backfield, and great vision, there is no equal for Jones on the Bucs as a runner.

While Jones is excellent as a runner, his abilities as a pass-catcher are highly inconsistent. 2019 was the best season of Jones’ career on this front, with 309 receiving yards on 40 total targets. This version of Jones would’ve popped in the recent Buccaneer offense that needed another flexible running back for Tom Brady, but 2020 was a different story.

With two more targets last season, Jones had three fewer receptions and a dismal production level on the efficiency front. The stark change from ten yards per reception to 5.9 was tough to watch, and it played a role in edging Jones out of the starting role numerous times.

Fortunately, while Jones slacked in the passing game, his abilities as a runner were on full display last season. With 5.1 yards per attempt and 22 yards off of the 1,000-yard mark, Jones finally started to live up to his draft status from several years ago.

Jones’ future and the success of the run game in Tampa are contingent on the ability of Jones to put his 2019 and 2020 seasons together in 2021. The Bucs need RoJo to run like he did in 2020, but they need him to catch as he did in 2019.

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If Jones can put both of these seasons together, he is easily on pace for north of 1,400 total yards on the season, which would help the Bucs out dramatically in the push for another Super Bowl appearance and would bring a nice contract Jones’ way.

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