One undrafted free agent to keep an eye on after Bucs rookie minicamp is running back Peyton Barber.
The former Auburn Tiger, who rushed for 1,017 yards in his only season as a starter in 2015, got several reps in the backfield during the Bucs limited full-team scrimmage sessions last week. He was taking outside sweep handoffs and catching out of the backfield, quickly turning and getting up field.
“When I have the ball in my hand, it just comes natural,” Barber said after last Saturday’s practice.
While he admitted that he has a lot of learning to do in an entirely different offense than the one he ran at Auburn – which was a non pro-style – Barber said he’s a pretty fast learner and that the Bucs offense fits his running style well.
What makes this player’s story a little more unique than the other undrafted prospects, however, was his path to the NFL.
The 5-foot-10 running back left college after his redshirt sophomore year, a curious decision considering that he was never expected to get drafted in 2016. Staying at least one more season after a 1,000, 13-touchdown campaign would have surely raised his stock. But the motivation to leave, he said, had a little more to it than developing as a running back.
“I was having some family problems at home,” said Barber, who’s mother, Lori, was living with her other children in a small apartment outside Atlanta. “That was my main focus for coming out.”
It wasn’t ideal for him to leave Auburn early, as noted by his high school running backs coach, who spoke to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. But he ultimately did it to help support his family.
According to Auman, undrafted rookies typically get a signing bonus of $10,000 or less. Making the 53-man roster would have him at least at $450,000 in bonus money and the practice squad would net him around $112,000 over a full season.
Barber may seem like a wild card for either spot, but he was a coveted priority free agent and was lured to Tampa Bay on the basis of thin depth at running back. After Doug Martin and Charles Sims, the other three guys – Mike James, Storm Johnson and Russell Hansbrough – have limited NFL experience and don’t figure to be locks to make the roster. Barber’s lower salary, and the fact that James hasn’t made much of an impact in his first three years, could also give him an advantage to earn the third spot.
Despite leaving college a year or two early, Barber has no regrets and feels completely confident about transitioning from college to the pros this offseason.
“Physically I’m ready and mentally I’m ready,” he said.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
On the 53 roster, I’m going to go out on a limb and think that the Bucs will not carry 3 QBs on the roster this year. That means that I still think it is possible if not likely that QB Mike Glennon is traded. Call it just a hunch because I have heard no chatter or rumblings in the channel to support my hunch at this time.
Obviously that may or may not happen, but I think the Bucs carry 4 RBs on the roster at the expense of some other position because it is the position most likely to have an injury and I have history on my side – until last year when they carried 3 QBs, they have always carried 4 RBs. I like Peyton Barber’s chances as a big back and he has a great story to tell, but I also like what I see in Russell Hansbrough.
I like Russell Hansbrough’s chances because he has KR/PR skills and he has that Darren Sproles playmaking ability from the backfield. He also has the speed and elusiveness once in the secondary not to be caught from behind. Wouldn’t that be a change for a Bucs RB? Lol.
My thinking is similar to Macabee; we’ve already seen what james can do and not. I’d rather give a rookie a break and see what he can do. I don’t see us carrying Glennon into the Season; he’s not a Winston type QB and we do need the back up to be able to move around a little. I don’t see us carrying 6 WR’s either unless one of the Rookies or one year players stand out; we’ll keep 2-3 on PS.
I agree with Horse and macabee. I think they are waiting for a starting QB, with a nothing backup, to go down. Then the desperate team want to trade.
Pretty intriguing that Barber gained over 1000 Yards and 13 touchdowns for Auburn his last year there. His height is not a big concern given Doogie’s production last year, but your article did not reveal Barber’s weight or 40 time. Since he was running sweeps in practice that must be his forte, which would mean he could make a good backup to Sims but would likely not be very good between the tackles. So here is the real question: is Barber fast enough, durable enough, and evasively quick to run back punts or kicks? If yes he should make this team to also play Special Teams. Our new FB has so much flexibility he can run short yardage plays, back up Doogie between the Tackles, be a backup TE or H Back or run back kicks as well as play the slot. So I think Barber was smart to come here and may well make our team or Practice Squad! Now I am glad smart Licht did not expend a draft pick to get a RB this year.
Barber’s combine and pro day numbers.
Thanks Macabee! He should be able to run between the tackles too.
He actually runs better between the tackles and is a hard nosed runner who fights for extra yards. I’d also like to see 4 running backs kept with barber being the third back and Hansbrough being the fourth back as a change of pace back. If we only keep three back strength they could start Hansbrough on the practice squad.
Thanks Macabee! I just looked up Barber’s weight and 40 speed at Auburn’s Pro Day this year on Google before seeing your latest post. His picture looked slim in this article like a shorter Sims, but turns out at his Pro Day he weighed 232 lbs and ran a 4.59 40. So that tells me he likely can run just fine between the Tackles. However, at his 40 speed I doubt he has run back skill (though I’ve seen Hargraves run back some kicks in college with a similar 40 time but don’t think he could do that in the NFL). As well as Barber catches passes and with his weight, he could be a successful 3rd down back as long as he has mastered blocking. You can see why this article should have included Barber’s speed and weight, to help us figure out his chances of making this team.
I like this young man and the RB from Missouri. I think both have a good chance of making the club if the Bucs decide to cut James.
One of them may end up on the practice squad while the other is on the regular game week roster.
Seems like kind of waste of two roster spots using 3 Qb’s and 4 RB. It doesn’t appear a trade will happen with Glennon so we have him this year and that’s cool, so why let Griffin walk and worry about getting another back up next year? I mean is their something special that makes him hard to replace? Seems like back up QBs that don’t have much starting experiment are dime a dozen?
I do understand the argument that RB is a position that has high injury rate but couldn’t they consider Vitale also another extra RB and just keep 3 plus Vitale? I mean when you look at Vitales 40 time and consider his size and strength? Anyways just a thought. Of course you lose him as a TE option if that would happen I guess. Anyways just thinking out loud I’m no personel expert. Lol.
I meant why NOT just let Griffin go….
Why not cut or trade James, keep Barber and Hansbrough and let Glennon remain our insurance policy while Winston gets his second year under his belt. Keep Griffin cut Gerillus or some other aging vet. Multiple possibilities but I like 4 RB’s and 3 QB’s on the roster Need offensive security.
Barber has the speed of an offensive lineman. His chances are slim if anyone else becomes available on the waiver wire. I wish him the best, He should have stayed in school.
Seat26 I thought same thing. He’s way too slow to be very effective.
Martinelli offensive line is important to offensive security too. Look at all injuries we had last year. Good thing they had Cherilus who could play decent for Dotson. Also Why would you keep unknown slow Barber over James who has experience?
Also you can have as many QBs as you want on roster and won’t matter if Winston goes down the season is over. Glennon is not the answer but could maybe get you decent results if Winston is out short time. Other than that stick a fork in em.
James looked good the little that he played. I hope he makes it.
When three QB’s were on the roster last year I believed it increased the probability that Glennon would be traded during the season. As we enter another year, I suspect the same three QB’s will be on the 53 man roster unless Glennon is traded before the season starts. He will be there until another team loses their starter and comes calling. It seems there are a lot of other QB’s out there making it a buyers’ market. Ron Wolf believed a team should always be developing a QB for trade options.
Scu, I guess we aren’t doing a good job in that department because nobody wants Glennon. I say it’s time to cut the strings and try to develop another QB product.
Horse, you don’t just cut a QB who has 17 real NFL game experience under his belt who you have signed for a reasonable amount of money.
All we knew about Glennon is that no one wanted him for what Licht was asking and nobody is sure what that was.
Running backs are easier to find that QB’s who have a reasonable resume. See Bobby Rainey.
When is the trade deadline this year?
I think it’s sometime in October
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