As the Bucs’ second-round draft pick in 2018, brought in with the expectation of providing that explosive threat out of the Tampa Bay backfield, to say Ronald Jones II disappointed would be an understatement.
A disappearing act would really be a more appropriate description, other than a blowout in Chicago where he saw a career-high 10 rushing attempts. Jones was active for nine games last season, taking carries in only five of those contests and totaling 44 yards on 23 carries for just 1.9 yards per carry.
With that said, quarterback Jameis Winston has noted the improvement he’s seen from Jones while the Bucs’ coaching staff has been singing his praises all offseason, but it isn’t just those within the organization taking notice now.
In today’s segment of a four-part series, NFL.com’s Terrell Davis selected Jones as one of his three young running backs expected to break out during the 2019 season, projecting 750 yards and six rushing touchdowns from the 21-year-old back.
“Jones’ rookie campaign was a disappointing one, as he was a healthy scratch for the first three games of last season and then was sidelined with a hamstring injury later on. Thankfully, it’s a new season. Bucs running backs coach Todd McNair said during minicamp earlier this month that Jones looks more like the player the Bucs took in the second round than the one on the field last fall. This is an encouraging report heading into next month’s training camp. He’s talented, explosive and is going to get his opportunities to win the starting job over Peyton Barber. If he performs to his ability, Jones could lock up the RB1 gig before too long. Jones and the ground game should also benefit from Jameis Winston’s development under first-year Bucs head coach Bruce Arians. And let’s not forget what David Johnson did under Arians’ direction as well.”