May 15, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Michael Smith (34) works out during organized team activities at One Buc. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The rankings continue as we come to the running backs this time. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have high hopes for their very young group of running backs, and they're planning on using them extensively. Greg Schiano wants to have an offense that runs the ball, a lot, and he drafted Doug Martin to compete with incumbent starter Legarrette Blount for touches. Add Michael Smith and Mossis Madu to the group and the Bucs have a varied group, but not a particularly proven one. Blount has been inconsistent and has had problems with fumbles and on third down, while the rest either haven't played in the NFL, or have only played a few snaps. The group could turn out to be very strong - but it could also turn out to be very, very weak. That seems to be the theme for every position group in Tampa.
Keeping all that in mind, Ryan Van Bibber ranked the Bucs' running backs 14th in the NFL. Here's what I had to say about them:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to choose between two wildly different players this season: the human bulldozer with fumbling problems and pass protection issues by the name of Legarrette Blount, and the all-around back and Ray Rice-clone Doug Martin. In the end, we'll probably see the first-round pick prevail - but Blount will still get his touches. With speedy rookie Michael Smith the Bucs have another change-of-pace back who can take a few carries. This is a very inexperienced group, but it's also very talented. The players had better live up to that talent, because Greg Schiano plans to run them until they drop dead from exhaustion, and then some more.