The Buccaneers need to get busy if they want to have a legitimate running back room in 2022.
The run game has not been the offensive focus of the Buccaneers for years now. The Bucs have been a throw-first team with very few exceptions for the better part of a decade and that shows no sign of slowing down in the modern era of the game.
However, this does not mean that the run does not matter at all.
The run still certainly has a place in games. Once teams establish the pass and get the defense to open up, running lanes the size of semi-trucks open up for teams that can gash the defense with a few quick and lethal passes.
Also, a few play-action pass plays will open up the run as well, contrary to what fans of the game in the early 2000s would tell you.
One way or another, the Bucs do need a running back room in a huge way with a quarterback change coming this offseason, but the outlook is bleak for now.
Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, and Giovanni Bernard could be gone in a few weeks. The odds seem extremely high that all three will be contributing to other teams by the start of the 2022 season, which leaves Ke’Shawn Vaughn by his lonesome to carry the load.
The Buccaneers will have to look to the draft and free agency to keep this unit alive. Vaughn by himself doesn’t excite anyone, but he could be a decent number two or number three. Tampa will need to find at least two other guys to round out this group.
A mid round pick on a guy like Dameon Pierce out of Florida is the best place to start. Pierce looks like he could be a RB1 in Tampa with the proper training and some time to grow, and he wouldn’t require a priority pick either.
If not Pierce, there are several other options in this class that the Bucs should keep a close eye on. One way or another, Jason Licht is drafting a running back this season, so start looking for mock drafts that have guys in round three and on.
The Buccaneers will also likely spend some money in free agency on the position. Fournette was a free agent addition that helped win the Super Bowl, so finding one of those guys that won’t require a huge deal should be another priority for this coaching staff.
The next couple of weeks will be very telling, but at least the process of adding skill players through whatever means is always exciting.
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