Buccaneers still have likely offensive draft option in early rounds

Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette , Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette , Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers have already spent plenty of money on running backs in free agency this year, but running back is still not off the table in the draft.

Phew. This isn’t always easy for the “running backs don’t matter” crowd, but acceptance is the best way to not get hurt. Yes, running the football isn’t the most valuable use of offensive snaps in the modern NFL, but that doesn’t mean the Buccaneers are going to stay complacent with their running back room.

As it stands, Tampa has Leonard Fournette, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and Giovani Bernard as their familiar faces from last season. Ronald Jones is out, but that likely only means Tom Brady’s jersey will stay clean for a few more snaps this year.

Three running backs is probably sufficient for an offense that should be a pass-first unit with Tom Brady at the helm, but everyone should expect a few more runs this season with a defensive coach like Todd Bowles calling the shots.

Given the likely desire to spend more time running the ball and the lack of a genuine option of the future outside of Leonard Fournette, it looks like the Buccaneers could spend a valuable pick on a running back early to bring the group up to four like it was last year.

Bernard is getting older, Vaughn is unproven, and Fournette’s deal guarantees very little and could get ditched by the Bucs if his play suffers. This lack of a definitive option could make it a need for Tampa to find another running back to pair with Fournette as more of a pass-catching option.

This lightning-thunder dynamic would’ve been perfect with Ronald Jones if he had the ability to catch at an above-average rate, and it looks like Tampa could try to give this another shot with one of the talented running backs that could slip to Day Two as great value options.

This rookie may not be a year-one starter, but they would give a bit of a stability to the offense in a future without Tom Brady.

Don’t count the Bucs out from drafting a running back just because they have three guys returning.

Trending. Buccaneers smartly playing the waiting game with defensive leader. light

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