Why Rachaad White is poised to level up as Bucs RB1

Rachaad White will be a key to the Bucs post-Brady offense in 2023.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

When the Buccaneers drafted Rachaad White in the 3rd round of the 2022 NFL Draft, it was with the mindset he could form a dynamic duo with the already established Leonard Fournette. It was a sound strategy by the Front Office as running back committees are all the rage these days.

The Arizona State product was mostly invisible during the first month of the season as he acclimated himself to the offense and the NFL.

However, as we have learned over the years, Tom Brady loves a good check down. With Fournette beginning to labor on a week-to-week basis, White seized the opportunity.  He had a five-reception, 50-yard outing against the Chiefs gave Bucs fans and coaches a glimpse of his abilities.

This was followed by back-to-back four reception games as White continued to grow into the offense. Brady in particular began to trust him more and more with each passing week.

Being on the field more saw him begin to get more rushing chances as Fournette continued to struggle to regain his mojo.

Rachaad White is going breakout for Bucs in 2023, and here's why

Funnily enough, his big breakthrough would come outside the United States. The Bucs faced off against the Seahawks in Germany. White recorded 105 rushing yards on 22 carries as he showed explosion and confidence throughout the contest.

This gave the team plenty to think about heading into the Week 11 bye and how they could best utilize their rookie who was growing with confidence.

Their solution was to get him involved as much as possible without fully abandoning Fournette. This saw White rack up total touches of 23, 15, and 18 over the next 3 games. He was proving to be a reliable dual threat for the offense that still was struggling to consistently move the football down the field.

The final month of the season saw his production dip a bit, but he maintained his role in the passing game. Upon the Buccaneers being blown out in the Wild Card round by the Dallas Cowboys, it was clear it would be an off-season of change.


Tom Brady retired and the team released Leonard Fournette. Two huge contributors to the Super Bowl championship were gone leaving behind more questions than answers.

As the offseason began to roll along, the team brought in Baker Mayfield to be the presumed QB1. While he does have a playoff win under his belt, the GOAT he is not. Chase Edmonds was also brought in to bring some veteran experience to the running back room.

Edmonds has been an elite pass-catching back during his career. It's conceivable he takes over the 3rd down role and obvious passing situations. This would mean that White should be in the driver's seat to lead the team in carries.

At 6 feet and almost 215 pounds, White should be comfortable handling this kind of workload. His second year in the offense should bring a new level of understanding of where to find the holes and when to improvise. He showed an explosive element to his game as a rookie that Todd Bowles and new OC Dave Canales should be very excited about.

With Fournette's big contract and personality gone, there will be less pressure on the team to take touches away from White. Edmonds will not command 15-20 touches a game in order to remain a happy camper.

White will bring out the best in the rest of the offense

Baker Mayfield did his best work in Cleveland when the running game was going strong and allowed him to utilize play action and manage games. If White cannot continue his positive development into Year 2, it won't matter who is playing Quarterback because they will be forced to throw far more than anyone around the Bucs would want.

There are still several big-name running backs on the free agent market such as Dalvin Cook, Kareem Hunt, Ezekiel Elliott, and Fournette. The fact that the organization has not pounced on one of these stars indicates they fully trust what they have.

White has the keys to the car as training camp begins. Barring unforeseen circumstances, he will be given every opportunity to succeed. He has the physical gifts already. The next phase is taking his mental edge to the next level.

If he can come close to 1,500 scrimmage yards, the Tampa Bay offense could surprise more than a few teams along the way. This level of production in addition to whatever Edmonds and Ke'Shawn Vaughn can produce could see the running back room in Tampa be the envy of the NFC South.

The Bucs are taking a chance on a less proven commodity. It's time to see if their faith is justified.

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