Look, Alabama running back Josh Jacobs is a heck of a player. He could very well be the No. 1 running back in the 2019 NFL Draft. But at the same time, what are we doing here?
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah put out his mock draft 1.0 on Friday, and with the No. 5 overall pick, he has the Buccaneers selecting Jacobs. Here’s what Jeremiah had to say about the pick:
The Bucs didn’t see any return on their investment in Ronald Jones, a second-round pick last year. Jacobs is a dynamic player with ideal toughness.
If this is a projection aimed to bait people into overreacting, then MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
No but seriously, this is silly, right? Tampa Bay does have a need at running back, sure, but I wouldn’t classify it as a need that needs to be filled with a top-five pick in the draft. For one, the Bucs already have a solid back in Peyton Barber. Even if you’re not thrilled with the idea of entering the 2019 season with Barber as the No. 1 guy, both the free agency and draft classes for running backs are plenty deep this year.
Not only that, but I’m not sure the team is wanting to completely give up on Ronald Jones II just yet. By spending the No. 5 pick on a running back, you’re pretty clearly done with Jones. Signing a veteran to complement Barber and compete with/push Jones would seem to make more sense.
Even with all of that aside, the idea of the Bucs spending their top-five pick on someone that isn’t an offensive tackle, defensive end or cornerback just doesn’t feel right. Those needs are much bigger than the one at running back, even with some potential additions in free agency. A number of different guys have been mocked to the Bucs at No. 5 pick so far this month. Here’s where Jeremiah had some of those guys landing:
OT Jawaan Taylor— No. 9 (Buffalo Bills)
LB Devin White— No. 10 (Denver Broncos)
CB Greedy Williams— No. 16 (Carolina Panthers)
OL Jonah Williams— No. 18 (Minnesota Vikings)*
CB Deandre Baker— No. 23 (Houston Texans)
*While Jeremiah has Williams as “a solid offensive tackle prospect,” he thinks he has “All-Pro potential at guard.” The Bucs could undoubtedly use him at either position, considering the state of that unit.
Jacobs will surely be a great addition for someone this spring, and if Tampa Bay was one running back away from competing for a Super Bowl, this mock would make a little more sense. But that’s just not where the Bucs are right now.