Bucs Draft Roundtable: Part 2

For the next several days, Bucsblitz.com will focus on some of the players the Buccaneers could have interest in going into April's Draft. As the Scout.com network kicks off its NFL Draft coverage this week, Scout.com and Bucsblitz.com experts explore which running backs the Bucs could be interested in going into April's Draft.

QB would seem to be the one position the Bucs are set at for the future. But their running back situation is crowded and unsettled. Carnell Williams is a restricted free agent. Derrick Ward was a complete bust and Earnest Graham was a forgotten man last year. It's doubtful the Bucs will spend a first-round pick on an offensive player. But once you get beyond that round, is there a back or two out there that you think the Bucs could select in the mid-rounds that is capable of giving this team the jolt they need in the backfield?

Chris Steuber, Scout.com Draft Expert: The player I mentioned yesterday, Joique Bell of Wayne State, could be an intriguing name to the Buccaneers front office. It's obvious that the Bucs want a big, productive back to work in their offense, that's why they went out and signed Derrick Ward. With Ward not working out, it's possible that they will cut him and select a running back somewhere in the third – fifth round range. Bell will receive third – fourth round consideration and I'd expect that's the area where the Bucs would like to invest in a running back. If not Bell, other runners they have an interest in are: Auburn's Ben Tate (5-11, 220), Stanford's Toby Gerhart (6-1, 235), Tennessee's Montario Hardesty (6-0, 215) and LSU's Charles Scott (5-11, 234).

Tyler Frazier, Bucsblitz.com co-publisher: Depending on what happens prior to the draft, the Buccaneers could definitely be in the mix for a running back and there are a few players that fans should keep an eye on. Anthony Dixon out of Mississippi State is one of these players. Dixon (6-1, 235) is a power runner who carried the ball 257 times his senior season for 1,391 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Bulldogs. He rushed for a season high 252 yards on 33 carries during a 31-24 win at Kentucky. Another player who the Bucs could be interested in is Auburn's Ben Tate who rushed 1,362 yards and 10 touchdowns on 263 attempts.

Matthew Postins, Bucsblitz.com contributor: Running back isn't going to be a primary need in this draft for two reasons. First, they have Carnell Williams, who will be a year removed from knee surgery and seems to be finally back in the right direction career-wise. Second, there are too many other needs for them to spend one of their first three picks on a back. But, it's an area they must address, since Williams is nearing unrestricted free agency (he's a restricted free agent this year). Plus, Derrick Ward was a complete bust and Earnest Graham was converted into a fullback. So Steuber's assessment of a third-to-fifth round pick for a back seems appropriate. It's also apparent the Bucs want a power runner. If it's me in the driver's seat of this draft, I'm looking to spend a fourth round pick on a back with a track record at a big-time school (the Bucs learned the hard way about rolling the dice early on a small-school wide receiver named Dexter Jackson). I'm very interested in LSU's Charles Scott, a player who missed the final month of the regular season with a clavicle injury. At 6-foot-, 230 pounds, Scott is a bruising back that, like Bell, doesn't have top-end speed, but exhibits quickness and shiftiness and isn't afraid to take on tacklers. He only rushed for about 600 yards last season, but he ended as LSU's sixth-leading rusher all time, so he can carry the rock. Scout.com has him ranked as its No. 10 back, and if teams are wary of his injury, the Bucs could get a bargain in the process.


Bucs Blitz Top Stories