The Buccaneers addressed numerous needs this off-season. While most of those needs were on the offensive side of the ball, finding a difference maker at running back is still a concern.
The Bucs will head into the 2015 season with the same names that carried the ball for the Bucs in 2014. One upgrade is a healthy Charles Sims after seeing him miss the first half of his rookie season with an ankle injury. The other name we'll hear plenty of is Doug Martin. Unfortunately, neither back has proven to be much of a threat carrying the football.
Here is our prediction on how the cornerbacks might be categorized:
Charles Sims - The 3rd round pick in 2014 showed some flashes of his speed at the tail end of last season. If Sims can stay healthy, he should be able to compete with Martin to become the Bucs' lead back. Sims has to show he can run consistently between the tackles. If he can't, he may be nothing more than a 3rd down back.
Doug Martin - Martin's probably a roster lock unless some other team is willing to fork over a decent draft pick for him. All I've heard about Martin this off-season is that this has been his best off-season since entering the NFL. It just sounds like a bunch of crap to me. It's great that he's working hard, but so is everyone else. Until Doug Martin shows the ability to break a tackle, he'll never be considered anything more than a very average NFL running back.
On the Bubble
Bobby Rainey - Rainey has a leg up on some of the other names in this group, but he still is very limited in what he brings to the Bucs backfield. I really do not have much issue with Rainey as a 3rd or 4th team running back, but anything more than that is concerning.
Mike James - James has stuck around on the Bucs' roster, but he will have a battle on his hands to keep that roster spot this season. James does not have much speed or explosion to offer. The Bucs have tried to use him in short-yardage, but he still doesn't offer much there either.
Jorvorskie Lane (FB) - Lane may have the upper hand at full back, but he's not a lock or even safe in my eyes. I think Luke Stocker emerged as a top notch blocker in 2014 when asked to fill in at full back, and Joey Iosefa will get an opportunity to be the Bucs' full back as well. Lane is the incumbent, but will have a battle on his hands.
Joey Iosefa (FB) - Iosefa played running back at Hawaii, but will compete at full back for the Bucs. He has good size and may find himself in position to be the Bucs' short-yardage back as well as full back moving forward. No 7th round pick should be "safe" on an NFL team, but Iosefa could surprise some folks during the preseason.
Likely to Be Cut
Dominique Brown - Just because I have Brown in this category does not mean that I do not see him competing. Yes, I know that was a double negative, but you get what I'm saying, right? Brown is a big back at 6'2'' and 240 lbs, but he must learn how to be more physical of a back and play up to his size. As of right now, he's a talented player who doesn't play that way, which is a big reason he went undrafted. It's also a reason he's likely to be cut.Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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