The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a pretty good offseason. Arguably the best in the NFC South so far. That’s what NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling thinks, arguing that the Bucs had an outstanding showing in free agency by adding DeSean Jackson and Chris Baker.
He also focuses on what the Bucs have to do for the rest of this offseason, and he thinks it’s fixing the running back situation.
What's going on in the backfield? Adrian Peterson has a hankering for Tampa, but the Bucs seem content to gamble on suspended power back Doug Martin recapturing 2015 Pro Bowl form. They likely will add insurance in the draft. On the other side of the ball, the secondary has been a liability going back to the Lovie Smith regime. It just so happens that this year's crop of cornerbacks and safeties is billed as one of the deepest in recent memory.
The Bucs’ secondary was not a liability last season, especially not during the final eight to ten games. But they are likely to add a safety in the draft, with Budda Baker and Obi Melifonwu likely targets, depending on how the draft works out.
But running back is a curious thing. It’s still not clear how the Bucs view their running back situation, but there are no real indications that they see this as an imminent problem. And they have a point: the combination of Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims and Peyton Barber won’t blow anyone away, but it’s a decent group of backs that will provide serviceable production.
We saw that last season: while the Bucs rushed for just 3.6 yards per carry last season, Rodgers managed 4.3. Football Outsiders saw his production as neutral—which is miles ahead of the rest of the Bucs’ backs. Rodgers can be relied on to consistently produce in the running game, even if he won’t run all over a defense.
With that in mind, as well as the potential return of Doug Martin, will they really address running back with anything more than a mid-round draft pick? We’ll see, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they passed on all of the top running backs in the draft.