Many mock drafts have predicted that the Bucs and head coach Bruce Arians could also be in place to draft a working again comparatively excessive when the 2021 NFL Draft rolls round this April, nevertheless lots of these predictions got here previous to the Bucs’ re-signing working again Leonard Fournette.
In spite of everything, Fournette and Ronald Jones II mixed for 79 p.c of the Bucs’ offensive snaps within the 2020 common season, and the group nonetheless has 2020 third-round choose Ke’Shawn Vaughn making ready to enter his second season.
“That each one could be outlined via observe and OTAs and coaching camp and preseason,” Arians mentioned about every again’s position for the 2021 season. “These guys are all right here and know what the system is and the perfect gamers are going to play. Clearly we have now two actually, actually good ones at that place and I actually like Ke’Shawn Vaughn. I feel that with an offseason he’s going to have a breakout 12 months additionally. All of these roles can be outlined by the point that we get to the final week of the preseason.”
It was a tough rookie season for Vaughn, who fumbled twice and dropped 4 passes on simply 9 targets. Nonetheless, there have been flashes as a runner and as a receiver, because the Vanderbilt product rushed for 109 yards on 26 carries for a median of over 4 yards a pop. Regardless of Tampa Bay basically bringing again the identical working again group that they had in 2021, sans veteran LeSean McCoy, Arians wouldn’t rule out the potential of drafting a working again within the upcoming draft.
“Most likely not,” Arians mentioned about ruling out drafting a working again. “This 12 months, going into this draft, [we’re probably going to target] the perfect participant accessible, most likely in each spherical. I can’t actually say that I’ve ever gone right into a draft not having a necessity, a drastic want. So it’s going to be enjoyable as a result of there’s going to be so many guys accessible, it’s simply the sweetness pageant a part of it. ‘We like this nook higher than that again, or this defensive finish, and the way a lot can they assist us on particular groups immediately?’ In order that a part of it, it gained’t change.”
One other factor that will crucially maintain a working again within the playing cards for Tampa Bay this draft season is the present contract conditions of the backs on their roster. Whereas Tampa Bay could really feel comfy with their working backs for now, each Fournette and Jones can be heading to free company subsequent offseason, barring an extension. Except Vaughn proves to be the breakout stud Arians is predicting, the Bucs will want extra assist in their backfield through the draft.