PewterReport.com analyzes the top players in the 2019 NFL Draft with its position previews. Taylor Jenkins previews the running back position with a comprehensive look at what the Bucs have and what they need in the backfield, a detailed list of this year’s top running backs, and Scott Reynolds offers up the annual PewterReport.com Bucs’ Best Bets – one early round pick, and a pick from the later rounds.

What The Bucs Have At Running Back

The Buccaneers currently enter 2019 with a similar running back room to what they had last year, with the exception of a few pieces here and there. Peyton Barber was the lead back last year, rushing for a career-high 871 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 3.7 yards per carry, and according to Bruce Arians, will likely serve that same role this year. Arians has repeatedly come out in support of Barber and that will probably lead to him taking a slight uptick in his workload this year, if he can continue to produce and improve. As far as a third down or pass-catching back, Dirk Koetter had his trusty, reliable back in Jacquizz Rodgers, whom Tampa Bay didn’t re-sign, and Arians has brought in his own version of that in former Cardinals rusher Andre Ellington.

Bucs RB Peyton Barber
Bucs RB Peyton Barber – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Behind the two lead backs are last year’s second-round pick, Ronald Jones, who will need to take a big step forward in a new offense this year after totaling just 44 yards on 23 carries (1.9 avg.) and scoring one touchdown, as well as Dare Ogunbowale and Shaun Wilson. Ogunbowale spent most of their time in 2018 on the practice squad, while Wilson went on injured reserve in November. Both were able to get a little bit of regular season work as kick returners. Wilson also added five carries for 29 yards and three receptions for five yards.

What The Bucs Need At Running Back

The Bucs’ need at the running back position is in a little bit of a limbo. Barber may not be the running back of the future in Tampa Bay, but Arians has liked what he’s seen on tape and he was given a one-year deal that will keep him in Tampa Bay through at least the 2019 season.

After Barber the next back on the depth chart will all likely come down to production. Arians brought in Ellington because he’s a back he trusts and Ellington that knows the offensive scheme. However, Ellington is also getting up in age at 30 years old and hasn’t rushed for more than 2.8 yards per carry since 2015. Jones is in a make-it-or-break-it year. After being the Bucs’ second-round selection in last year’s draft, he fell flat in his rookie year. He was never able to build momentum in the preseason and that led to a regular season where he averaged an abysmal 1.9 yards per carry.

The Bucs may still be in search of that game-changing running back, and the could find one in this year’s draft. Because Barber is on a one-year deal, Ellington is 30 and Jones may be a bust, Tampa Bay may have to spend a Day 2 or Day 3 pick on a multi-purpose running back that can rush and catch the ball in Arians’ offense – and one that can break off long runs, as the Bucs’ longest carry of the year in 2018 was just 28 yards.

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Click Page 2 Below For The RB Rankings

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Benny Snell at 14 is ridiculous. I know a lot of the “experts” aren’t high on Snell because they all get so caught up with 40 times and highlight reels.

    All Snell will do is be a workhorse back that will wear defenses down, and consistently be a 1,000 yard rusher.

    This guy was a monster in the toughest conference in football.

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  2. Henderson would fit nicely. Still hoping Rojo can emerge this season, but it wouldn’t be wise to bank on it.

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  3. I agree with @fanofdabucs, take Snell if you can get him in later rounds. Like Barber, he is a 1,000 yard runner from the SEC that nobody seems to care about. I think the two of them would make a strong tandem backfield.

    I’m still of the mind the running game improves with better Oline play. And keep your fingers crossed the Ronald Jones comes around.

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  4. If Licht couldn’t pick the right back last year with a high second round pick, why would we think he could find the right one this year?

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  5. This team has too many needs to justify taking a RB for the second year in a row (aside from a round 6-7 flier). Fix the offensive line and the running game will suddenly become viable.

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  6. As of today Bucs do not have cap space to sign player picked at 5 , they have so many needs on both lines and d in general it is so hard to draft RB however they could trade back to early 20s and pick up Josh Jacob’s Jameis needs a RB to take pressure off him could be difference for Jameis this year. Last year bucs rated 31 in running attack they need RB more than any other team……..

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  7. I’m in favor of getting a back later(this year anyway, more holes to fill elsewhere), so sign me up for Tony Pollard in round 4 or 5.

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  8. Wow, that’s twice in one week I agree with you BOB. Let’s not make it a habit lol. I agree the running game needs a major boost. I believe we can improve a little just from having a better running game coordinator. Good god Warhop sucked at his job. It’s almosy crazy how the running backs were met in the backfield before they could even pick up speed. I agree that this team has so many holes that’ll be hard to draft one. One that could be had in the later rounds that I love is Travis homer. Good speed and a bruiser who can run up the middle and catch passes. I didn’t even see pewter report mention him

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  9. Take Henderson in the 3rd! If he is not there (which probably will not be), then take a later round RB, but Henderson at 3rd round would make us sooooo explosive!

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  10. If the OLine is improved even slightly with better/different coaching and a new scheme of attack, and one or two improved pieces, that might be enough to improve the run game from 31st to somewhere in the middle. The run game doesn’t have to be fearsome to be effective. Besides, having a top offense and a bad defense got us to 5-11 last year. I think we should avoid drafting a RB and put our 6 picks to better use defensively. There will be plenty of undrafted backs to choose from.

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  11. I still say, draft the BPA and if that’s a RB, so be it. The question is whether or not RB is also a need. I thibk it is. Bruce has praised Peyton Barber and I too think he’s a decent, albeit not spectacular RB. ROJO is a great mystery. My opinion is that he is young and his fragile confidence was shattered. And what has BA attempted to do with Jameis and Hargreaves……….bolster their confidence. Too soon to give up on him, but we can’t afford to pass on a RB while we wait. The others on the roster look to be depth guys.

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  12. I actually think I prefer Pollard in this situation. He’s bigger, not unlike David Johnson, and will cost us less draft capital. We simply can’t afford to draft another RB in the top 3 rounds this year. Give RoJo a chance to develop under an actual NFL caliber coaching staff and bring in a pass catcher like Pollard to add another dimension to the offense. Those early picks need to be used to address bigger needs along the DL, OL, at LB and in the secondary.

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  13. The Memphis running backs are a good duo….but I have to mention a running back that all you seminole fans failed to mention and that is Jordan Scarlett from Florida. He has speed and he is a really tough runner. I know most of you hate the Gators but look at his tape when he runs with the ball.

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