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Is top 11 too soon for Bucs and Dolphins to think running back in draft?

Florida Football Insiders

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that both the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in need of a future feature running back. Both team’s ground games suffered in 2017, as Jay Ajayi was not his same game changing self in South Florida and was traded to the Eagles.

And, the Bucs began the year with Doug Martin suspended and then, spent the second half of the season trying to see if un-drafted second year back Peyton Barber can carry the load.

So, what about help in the upcoming NFL Draft, and could it come at either the seventh (Tampa Bay) or 11th (Miami) picks this year?

Before you scoff that it’s too early, two years ago the Cowboys took a Big Ten running back, Ezekiel Elliott in the top ten and last year the Jaguars took an SEC running back, Leonard Fournette, in the top five. And, how did both of those picks work out in their rookie years?

And, lookie lookie, wouldn’t you know it? There’s a dynamic Big Ten back, that everyone is drooling over: Saquon Barkley (above) of Penn State. And, there’s a physical fast runner out of the SEC (and the same school as Fournette) Derrius Guice from LSU.

And many believe that both are ready to immediately help someone this year.

Our brothers at NDT Scouting, top draft analysis partner for Fanrag Sports, had a take in this Thursday afternoon in Joe Marino’s “Six pack Thursday” item.

Marino makes it clear, even at the beginning of February, that Barkley and Guice are not only the leaders of the a fairly deep running back class, but that they both should be gobbled up early.

In fact, he had the Browns jumping at Barkley with their second of two Top five picks at number four in his latest mock draft.

Of Barkley, he writes: “Barkley may be the most physically gifted running back I’ve ever seen. He’s a rare blend of size, power, elusiveness, agility and burst that destines him to become one of the NFL’s most prolific offensive playmakers.”

And then, a comment on Guice: “His ability to sustain his momentum through contact and break out of tackles with outstanding body control and balance is rare. His agility for his size is exceptional and he may be the most competitive runner I’ve scouted since Marshawn Lynch.”

Again, it’s not even March, yet, but the hype will grow and grow, especially around dynamic players from big conferences like Barkley and Guice.

Would the Bucs pull the trigger on Barkely, specifically, at number seven? They might. Then again, they have huge needs at pass rush and offensive line, too.

Would the Dolphins? If Barkely is gone, would they consider Guice at 11? Probably not. This is because, they have needs at O-line and secondary, etc. themselves.

However, we’ll keep an eye on the “rise” or not of those two running back names throughout this process.

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