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Know Your Draft Pick: Late Round Running Backs

The Bucs don't have a lot of needs on offense right now, but one of them is a running back who can contribute as a receiver and pass-blocker. Legarrette Blount is fine as a first- and second-down back, but he adds nothing as a receiver and struggles with his blocking assignments. Besides that, the Bucs need to find a back to share the workload as well. In the second half of last season Cadillac Williams took on that role, but he's a free agent and the Bucs seem content to let him test the market. And while Caddy is an excellent blocking back, he isn't an explosive receiver. 

Look back to Ray Rice's 2009 and 2010 seasons to see what a great receiving back can do for a quarterback. On passing plays you'd often see Joe Flacco go through two reads and then dump it off to Ray Rice who always did something positive with the ball. He racked up 695 yards in 2009 and 556 in 2010. That kind of player is very valuable for a team, so what player could the Bucs go after in the draft? I selected a couple of players to examine, and I'll write a little bit about each of them. All of these players are prospects for the 3rd-round or later, and I don't think the Bucs draft a running back anywhere before that. 

Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State: Small, shifty, runs low and has a real burst through the hole. He's very good in space and he's a capable pass catcher. Unfortunately, he's not a good pass-blocker, and that may be a breaking point for the Bucs. 

Taiwan Jones, Eastern Washington: Speed, speed, speed - that's what Taiwan Jones is. He's very dangerous in the open field, and looks like a competent receiver. He's small, though, and not a good pass-blocker. He also has a history of injuries that should concern the Bucs. But if he's healthy, he can be an explosive weapon. 

Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State: Looks like a great receiving back with good speed and elusiveness. At 5'6", 192lbs he's tiny but he has a powerful lower body to make up for it a la Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew. He was super productive in college and looks like a great prospect for the Bucs. His frame will definitely hurt him in pass protection, though. 

Johnny White, North Carolina: This player isn't getting a lot of draft buzz, but I really like him. He hasn't had a lot of touches in college, but he looked good when he did touch the ball. Looked like a natural receiver and a solid pass blocker. Under the radar player, but I'd like to see the Bucs pick him up. 

Jordan Todman, Connecticut: He's fast and a decent receiver, but he's not a real elusive runner in the open field and doesn't look like a good pass blocker either. This is one player I don't like. 

Shane Vereen, California: A tough runner with a good burst who's elusive in the open field. Also an experienced receiver and pass blocker and he's very comfortable in both roles. Not a lot of prospects could step right in and do well as a third-down back, but Vereen has a chance to do so.