Is Rachaad White's job 'in jeopardy' after NFL Draft?

Maybe we should slow down a bit with this whole notion...
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rachaad White
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rachaad White / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

No matter how you feel about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafting a running back this year, one thing is for certain: you will be unable to escape the Rachaad White slander.

Somehow, some way, we've arrived at the point of tossing White to the wayside in favor of a fourth-round rookie the Bucs took in last weekend's 2024 NFL Draft.

Now, this is in no way a slight toward Bucky Irving. He's a talented running back and the Bucs were fortunate to have drafted him. In today's NFL, you almost want to have multiple talented backs that can be used regularly, rather than one, lone bell cow. The league has changed.

But, just days after the pick, we're seeing folks out there like Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport say Irving is about to take White's job. Davenport noted a recent quote from the front office as to why he believes White could be in danger.

This is Bucs assistant general manager John Spytek giving some insight on the Irving pick:

"We had him in for a visit and he told us the first guy does not tackle him," he said. "And I think that's what you are looking for as running backs, especially when they're not the biggest running backs. It's no secret that Bucky is not Christian Okoye, so he's not going to run through people's face all the time. But if you look at his production, whether it was at Minnesota or Oregon—he's six yards a carry. So, he's hard to get on the ground for a man that is less than 200 pounds."

No one should be talking about Rachaad White losing his starting job

While Bucs fans should be thrilled about Irving and the potential he brings, let's pump the brakes a little bit. Sure, he averaged six yards per carry as a collegiate back. And, Davenport noted in his article how White has averaged just 3.7 for his career. On the surface, that looks like a glaring difference.

But, take into consideration that the Bucs' interior offensive line also did a horrendous job run blocking in 2023. It wasn't all on White. The former first-round pick excelled when given opportunities in space and that's why he wound up having a career year, all-around. Do not forget that White averaged a healthy 8.6 yards per reception (on 64 catches) in 2023. That ups his overall yards-per-touch number to 4.6 on the season, which looks much better than just his yards-per-carry ticker.

If you were looking strictly at the passing game, White was a walking, talking first down. That's far too valuable to think about shelving. And, you don't have to look too hard to notice that White is the more explosive back. Explosiveness wins in today's NFL.

Looking at it realistically, there weren't a lot of running backs who were going to get it going with the way the Bucs blocked up front. Hopefully, the addition of Graham Barton kickstarts that department a bit and the Bucs' running back room, as a whole, will benefit.

But, to say that White's job is "in danger" is a bit premature. It would be silly to take a good chunk of time away from White with how explosive and valuable he was last season. A healthy dose of both backs could be the way to go, but to outright state that White might lose his job is jumping the gun.

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