PewterReport.com analyzes the top players in the 2020 NFL Draft with its position previews. Mark Cook previews the running back position with a comprehensive look at what the Bucs have and what they need at running back, a detailed list of this year’s top running back, 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
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Once you get past Ronald Jones II, there isn’t a lot in the Bucs’ running back stable. The team allowed Peyton Barber to leave in free agency without an offer from Tampa Bay, so it was clear the team is ready to look for an upgrade at the position. Behind Jones, the only two backs with any experience are Dare Ogunbowale and T.J. Logan. Aca’Cedric Ware is also currently on the roster, but the team will need to add more bodies and talent.
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Jones looked like a bust in 2018 as a rookie, but showed much improvement last season under Bruce Arians and running backs coach Todd McNair. Jones led the Bucs in rushing with 724 yards and six touchdowns, and had his best game of the season in the season-ending loss to the Falcons. In that game Jones had his first career 100-yard rushing effort, finishing with 106 yards on 11 carries. Jones also improved his hands, catching 31 passes for 309 yards in 2019.
Logan was the team’s primary kick returner until an injury cut his season short in Week 12. Logan only had three carries for 10 yards.
What The Bucs Need At Running Back
While Tampa Bay is excited about what Jones can do, there are still some question marks if he can be a 20-plus touch featured back. While he averaged 4.2 yards per carry in 2019, Jones only averaged 12 touches per game. Part of the low number was the team’s distribution, as Jones and Barber split carries for much of the season. Jones also got in Arians’ doghouse a couple times last season after missing blocks that resulted in sacks, including one against the Jaguars that resulted in a turnover.
The Bucs would like to add another player to combine with Jones for a solid 1-2 punch and also be a better receiver out of the backfield, The good news for Tampa Bay is the 2020 NFL Draft is a loaded class for running backs with several that could fit in Arians’ offense and compete with Jones for touches. Giving new quarterback Tom Brady a better running game than Tampa Bay had in 2019 appears to be a priority in this year’s draft.
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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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