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Report: Buccaneers ‘have emerged as a serious suitor’ for Leonard Fournette

Could Tampa Bay add another talented player to its already-loaded offense?

The Buccaneers “have emerged as a serious suitor” for former Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s “The MMQB” reported Wednesday evening.

Both Breer and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweeted about Tampa Bay’s interest:

Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, was waived by Jacksonville on Monday. The former LSU standout has three seasons under his belt, having rushed for over 1,000 yards in two of them (2017 and 2019). Last year, he ran for 1,152 yards and three touchdowns on 265 carries, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. He also caught 76 passes for 522 yards, with both marks being career highs.

If the Bucs do bring Fournette on board, they’ll be adding him to a crowded—though unproven—backfield. Ronald Jones II is set to be the team’s lead back after a strong 2019 season, and behind him, there’s veteran LeSean McCoy and rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn, as well as Dare Ogunbowale and Raymond Calais.

While the coaching staff appears to like what they have in Jones, there’s some uncertainty behind him. McCoy has, by all accounts, looked good in camp, but he is 32 and we’re only seven or so months removed from him being a healthy scratch in the Super Bowl. Vaughn, the team’s third-round pick in 2020, has yet to impress in camp and seemingly hasn’t found a role in the backfield quite yet. And while Ogunbowale has proven to be a quality pass blocker and was last year’s special teams captain, he may not be elevated above that this year. Calais, a seventh-round selection in this year’s draft, may not stick on the roster himself.

So, while the Bucs have a lot of guys at the running back position, it might not hurt to add a proven guy like Fournette to the mix. He doesn’t come without concerns, but it might not be a bad move. He certainly has the talent and is still just 25 years old.

Stay tuned on this, as there should be more coming soon.

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