The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are really happy with first-round pick O.J. Howard, but selecting the star tight end did cause them to pass on Florida State running back Dalvin Cook—something some fans aren’t all that happy about.
Cook’s draft stock was all over the first round over the past month, mostly driven by vague concerns about his off-field behavior. It’s not clear whether the Bucs are as concerned about that as other teams appear to be, though.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, one reason they passed on Cook is that veteran Doug Martin has been very impressive so far this offseason.
One reason #Bucs passed on #FSU RB Dalvin Cook in the 1st: Source says the most impressive player thus far in training has been Doug Martin.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 28, 2017
Well, okay. I’ll believe that this is something they’re actually banking on when I don’t see the Bucs drafting a running back in the second or third round, though. I’m sure Martin has been impressive but, well, we heard that last year too. And in 2013. And in 2014. He was, of course, awful in those three years.
More likely: the Bucs decided to draft O.J. Howard because he was clearly and by a considerable distance the best player on the board, and they expect good (enough) running backs and safeties to be available later in the draft. Plus, they’re likely confident-ish in a committee of backs with Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims, Peyton Barber, Martin and perhaps a free agent somewhere.
Don’t buy into this rumor too much, then. It wouldn’t shock me one bit if the Bucs took a running back with their second-round pick, and if Cook falls far enough they may even trade up for him. Stay tuned for more action tonight.