The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot of promising players. One who goes under the radar quite a bit is second-year running back Charles Sims. He had a sneakily good year with 107 carries for 529 rushing yards, and 51 catches for 561 receiving yards. So good, that Pro Football Focus named him one of their 25 breakout players of 2015.
The Bucs' backfield was the best in football in 2015, thanks in part to Doug Martin's return to form, but also because of the one-two punch he provided with Sims. The backup was the perfect complement to Martin, performing the third-down role he's ill-suited to. Sims recorded cumulative grades of at least +2.3 in each facet of play, recording the fourth-highest receiving grade and the 11th highest rushing grade. Sims broke 24 tackles on just 106 carries, and added a further 13 from just 52 receptions. In contrast, he broke just 10 combined tackles from 85 total touches as a rookie.
Sims was much-maligned as a third-round pick in 2014 and his rookie season didn't do much to prove the critics wrong, but this past year certainly showed him to be a valuable player. Whether that's good enough for that third-round pick remains to be seen, but he should be an important part of the offense going forward.
Sims' success as a complement may be prompting the Bucs not to pay top dollar for Doug Martin, but that would be a mistake. Sims looked good last year specifically because he was a complement, and not a lead running back. That allowed the Bucs to select plays where they could get him into space, as well as using him in the passing game. And while he looked improved as a between-the-tackles runner, he wasn't consistent enough there to carry a running game the way Martin can.
Sims has a bright future as a receiving and change of pace back. That doesn't mean he can be an every-down back, though.