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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs get their running back with USC’s Ronald Jones

Jamil King

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We wondered if the Bucs would have to trade up to get an impact running back at the top of the second round. As it turns out, one of the SEC top runners was taken but a top Pac 12 ball carrier was.

With the 38th pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Ronald Jones II. The 5’11 215lb. USC product will come to Tampa Bay and look to compete immediately for the starting spot.

We wrote previously that Jones could possibly fall to Tampa Bay and/or the Miami Dolphins in the early stages in round two, and that’s exactly what happened.

The Bucs averaged only 3.5 yards per carry ranking 29th in the league last year.

The Bucs haven’t had a homerun hitter caliber back since the days of a young Cadillac Williams, and maybe Jones can become that.

Jones was a third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2017, finishing in the top ten nationally in rushing yards (1,550) and rushing touchdowns (19) on 261 carries. He also caught 14 passes for 187 yards and one touchdown. The Trojans captured the Pac 12 title in a win over Stanford, where Jones ran 30 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bucs decided to go with his speed rather than the power of LSU’s Derrius Guice, who plummeted throughout the second round.

Look for Jones to step in and immediately fight for carry’s alongside Peyton Barber and veteran backup Jacquizz Rodgers this July.

The Bucs have been searching for a full time ball carrier after cutting Doug Martin in March. Martin later signed a one year deal with the Raiders. Barber started a few games down the stretch, but is not a guarantee to start this season, as the star tailback. Tampa Bay also re-signed their four year veteran running back Charles Sims on Thursday, for depth purposes.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

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