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Is the Running Back Position a Priority for Tampa Bay?

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Yes, according to conversations had by Matt Miller

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Miller of Bleacher Report recently published his ‘scouting notebook’ column in which he identified news and rumors for all 32 NFL Teams.

In it, he wrote about the thought running back might be positional focal point for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as we continue moving towards the NFL Draft. Miller wrote,

“Running back is expected to be a priority, but not at No. 5, per multiple conversations with coaches and scouts at the combine.”

It’s an interesting thought. Earlier in the off-season we saw Alabama running back Josh Jacobs mocked to the Bucs with the fifth overall pick. However, this selection has slowed in popularity as of late.

Currently, Tampa Bay has second-year back Ronald Jones on the 2019 roster along with veteran Andre Ellington who was signed earlier this off-season after being out of football in 2018. Rounding out the current stable of running backs are Dare Ogunbawale and Shaun Wilson, two guys who have had active time on the roster recently and shown flashes of talent.

In addition to these four players, Tampa Bay has their 2018 starter entering free-agency as a restricted free-agent if they don’t tender Peyton Barber by the time the new league clock begins on March 13th.

Barber’s status has some bearing on this, as his return puts five backs on the 2019 roster and makes drafting one unlikely.

Something to take note of, is that Miller said scouts and coaches were his source for this idea and made no mention of whether or not these were Bucs scouts and coaches. Which leads me to believe they were not.

Miller also wrote in his piece,

“The Buccaneers view this as a can’t-miss edge-rusher class, one of the team’s scouts said, and will likely wait for the best available player there (Rashan Gary or Montez Sweat).”

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Here, we see more team specific insight happening, with Miller even mentioning a Bucs scout specifically as the source of his information. This isn’t new or a hot take, as many think this edge class could end up being the best in NFL history when all is said and done.

It really feels like there is an abundance of talent for teams needing EDGE rushers, although I’d personally be concerned to see Clelin Ferrell or Jachai Polite land with Tampa Bay.

With the fifth pick, the Buccaneers may be in the rare situation where taking the third-best player at a position in one class is still worth the Top-5 draft capital.

As far as running backs, I think most if not every person keeping an eye on the Bucs can agree it’s not worth spending a Top-5 NFL Draft pick on the position. However, some players worth keeping an eye on in days two and three include Damien Harris (Alabama), Justice Hill (Oklahoma State), Miles Sanders (Penn State), Bryce Love (Stanford) and Devine Ozigbo (Nebraska).

Poll

How do you think the Bucs need to address the running back group?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Bring back Peyton Barber. Then we’re good.
    (117 votes)
  • 1%
    We’re good now. Even without Barber.
    (7 votes)
  • 12%
    Bring in a veteran.
    (50 votes)
  • 3%
    Day one in the draft.
    (13 votes)
  • 33%
    Day two in the draft.
    (135 votes)
  • 20%
    Day three in the draft.
    (84 votes)
406 votes total Vote Now