One of the deepest positions in this year's draft is a position that has been neglected in the last few drafts. Running backs have seen their value decrease over the years, but this might be the year that running back(s) find their way back into the 1st round. Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley lead the way, but quality running backs can be had throughout the entire draft.
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On the surface, it might appear as if the Bucs are set at running back. It is a position where they do have recognizable names like Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey (RFA), Mike James, and last year's 3rd round pick Charles Sims. They might have the names, but the one thing the Bucs are lacking is a true feature back with elite characteristics. The Bucs do not have that special runner that can make something out of nothing.
Running back might not be the Bucs biggest need, but overall talent on their team might be. Here's a look at some running backs that might peak the interest of the Buccaneers.
Todd Gurley, Georgia - Gurley will be one of the big stories of this year's draft. He's got the potential to be special, but is also coming off of a torn ACL. While he's scheduled to be fully recovered in plenty of time for the 2015 season, Gurley will likely not be able to fully workout before the draft in late April. Some Bucs fans have already criticized me for a piece I wrote recently saying the Bucs should draft Gurley in the 2nd round, if he slips. Well, I remember when Adrian Peterson was an option for the Bucs to draft, but they had Cadillac Williams and no BIG NEED for a running back, so they selected Gaines Adams. If you can get superior talent, you should seriously consider it.
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin - Gordon might not have the power that Gurley possesses, but he has plenty of flash. Gordon's running style is reminiscent of Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles. Gordon is the most likely 1st round pick of the running back group this year because of his talent and his health. Gordon was also very cognizant of protecting the football at Wisconsin.
Duke Johnson, Miami - There are growing concerns that Duke Johnson won't be able to become a true feature back in the NFL. Johnson's potential will be equivalent to Bengals RB Giovanni Bernard or Patriots RB Shane Vereen, both of whom were 2nd round picks. As a change of pace back and threat in the pass game, Johnson can bring a different dimension to an NFL offense.
Mike Davis, South Carolina - With such a deep group of running backs, a very good player like Mike Davis tends to get forgotten. Davis had a very good career for the Gamecocks, but decided to leave school early to help take care of his mother financially. Davis runs with great power and adds soft hands in the pass game. There are some concerns with his quickness and speed, but he can put those concerns to rest at the combine.
David Johnson, Northern Illinois - Johnson is a small school back that's getting more and more attention. He's a solid runner with good size (6'1'' 224 lbs), but it's his hands that have everyone talking. Johnson has the potential to be an elite receiver out of the backfield.
Matt Jones, Florida - Boy, you talk about someone getting no attention. Florida's Matt Jones might be a steal for a team late in the draft. Jones stands 6'2'' and 231 lbs. He's not a flashy runner, but he can get downhill and runs with power. I think Jones has the potential to be a 20-25 carry back in the NFL.
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