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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs must now race others to top of second round to get running back

Florida Football Insiders

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Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

We knew coming into this 2018 NFL Draft that Penn State’s Saquon Barkley was the clear cut top choice at running back, and the Giants confirmed that taking him at #2 overall Thursday. And there were two more running backs who went in the final few picks of the first round (Rashaad Penny-Seattle, Sony Michel- New England) later last night.

Now, comes the real “fun” at the top of the second round this evening, especially, when numerous teams, including the Buccaneers and maybe, the Dolphins, need a running back.

The most impressive prospect on the board is LSU’s Derrius Guice (above), who many are likening to his former teammate two years ago, Leonard Fournette. Fournette was a devastating back for Jacksonville last year, but some are saying Guice may end up being a better pro with his pass catching and blocking in the end.

We don’t buy that last part.

But also, another very good option is another SEC running back, Nick Chubb of Georgia. And we’ve written earlier in this process, there’s also explosive little USC RB Ronald Jones, to consider as well.

Here’s how it lays out at the top of the second round: the Browns have their pick at #33 and the Texans pick at #35. So, they are in “the catbird seat” of being able to keep one, take whomever they want and trade one for more picks, which they will likely do.

The Giants, who took Barkley last night, are sandwiched between at #34, and you better believe their phone has been ringing, too.

And another fascinating key part is: the Colts have back to back picks, for now, at 36 and 37. And while, Indy can use a running back also, they are like Cleveland and can trade one of the those back-to-back picks to the highest bidder.

So, for the Buccaneers, who have a genuine need at running back also, it now becomes a race.

Rather, the 100m dash at the Olympics: How do you get to Cleveland or the Giants’ first two picks of the second round to assure one of the top backs?

Oh, and there are competing teams just behind Tampa Bay’s 38th pick tonight, who will be looking to “sprint to the top,” possibly for a running back, too.

Those would include, the Broncos at 40, the Dolphins at 42, the Redskins at 44 and finally, the Packers at 45.

Don’t think for a second that those guys aren’t calling the Browns, Giants and Colts, too about a move up.

In the end, there are still some good “value” running backs for later in the second and maybe, the third round for the likes of Nyheim Hines of N.C. State or Mark Walton of Miami, etc. etc.

But clearly, if Bucs GM Jason Licht wants Guice or Chubb, it’s trade up time.

And, the Buccaneers got two second round picks in their deal with Buffalo to move back five spots Thursday night. Those will come in handy in the negotiations, today and tonight.

Now, “runners to your marks….”

Here we go.

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