Who will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB2 for 2022?

Tom Brady, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tom Brady, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t have many training camp battles in 2022, but one intriguing part of the to-do list for new head coach Todd Bowles will be solving the mystery of who the new second running back on the Buccaneers depth chart will be.

Ronald Jones was starting to wear the patience of a lot of Bucs fans pretty thin by the end of the 2021 season. As such, not many tears were shed when he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2022 free agency period. With RoJo now gone, a juicy spot on the depth chart is now open for the Bowles-era of Buccaneers football.

Bowles, Byron Leftwich (and Tom Brady) now need to find out who will be backing up Leonard Fournette in the Bucs backfield. It’s no secret that Late-Season Lenny and Playoff Lenny are two absolute stud versions of the same back. However, the very same back isn’t invincible, and has struggled with his fair share of battles with the injury bug, like most running backs. This means that a replacement for RoJo is needed for the change of pace back, and understudy for Fournette if and when he’s unable to go on game day.

Fortunately, the Buccaneers aren’t short on quantity of options. Perhaps rather unfortunately, the quality of said options is still up in the air.

As soon as the Bucs drafted Rachaad White out of Arizona State in the third round of this year’s draft, many had the rookie penciled in as the guy. The thing is, they also drafted Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the third round of the 2021 draft, and while the jury is still out on him, he did show flashes during his rookie season with Tampa Bay, in both the regular and postseason.

Bowles has already come out and said that the Buccaneers will be running the ball more frequently under his watch. That said, whoever serves in this roll will have to be able to withstand that. They also will have to be able to show skill in the receiving game as well with the offensive system Brady and Leftwich like to run. They do still have Giovanni Bernard on the roster, who does posses skills in the receiving game, and pass-protection, even with his age. However, with that same age of the veteran, it’s unlikely he’ll serve as the second running back on the depth chart.

A long-shot sleeper in all this is Kenjon Barner. Granted, he’s only been active for a handful of games with the Bucs, but he’s been in Tampa Bay since 2020, and them bringing him back again is nothing to ignore. Fun fact, he’s also won three Super Bowls in the last five years (2017 with the Philadelphia Eagles, 2018 with the New England Patriots and with the Bucs in 2020) making him the winningest active player in the NFL. That doesn’t mean much in the context of this discussion, but it’s still a stat that needs to be spelled out to be believed. Hilarious stuff.

At the end of the day, it’s entirely possible (and likely) that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will run a backfield by committee approach with Fournette as the primary runner, and implementing the same should he miss time given the makeup of the roster and various skill sets of the players involved. However, this still poses a remarkable opportunity for someone to step up, because as we know, a running back’s time in the sun is never secure, and that’s a fact as certain as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West.

Next. Let’s talk tight ends now. dark