(Right to Left: Ronald Jones II, Keshawn Vaughn, LeSean McCoy, Dare Ogunbowale, T.J. Logan) Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports, Douglas DeFelice, Vanderbilt Commodores, TJ Logan, Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports Abbie Parr | Credit: Getty Images
Just like the Steelers' RB room, Tampa Bay has a crowded one, but they have already declared a starter.
Ronald Jones II has been declared by head coach Bruce Arians to carry the load. "RoJO is the main guy. He'll carry the load." said Arians, per ESPN staff writer Jenna Laine. Jones has been getting prepared by coaches for this role since last year and his coaches think he's ready. A completely revamped and different style of offense for the Buccaneers this year is a different scenery and quite refreshing, they have a tight end that will actually make a difference and be consistent, a running back room with different styles of backs and a hungry Ronald Jones, a quarterback that is proven and knows how to lead, and a receiving core that has proven to be lethal. Ronald Jones will be running behind a semi-new offensive line that includes first round pick Tristan Wirfs. If Jones doesn't get hurt he should be in the range to rush for between 800-950 yards, maybe more.
The third round pick from Vanderbilt is expected to make a impact later on in the season. NFL Networks' Cynthia Frelund thinks Ke'shawn Vaughn could be the "Surprise star of this running back class." Vaughn is obviously not going to start this season unless multiple backs get hurt but he could be the second back on the depth chart come late season or be the third down running back. Vaughn defiantly has potential and he is a must watch this season if you are looking at fantasy for next year or later down the season or if you're just a Buccaneers fan. In my opinion he will have to pass Dare Ogunbowale and veteran LeSean McCoy on the depth chart in training camp or the first few weeks of the season to get a real chance that very few rookies get, especially running backs and quarterbacks.
After signing a one year deal this offseason with Tampa Bay, Shady (his nickname) surprised people including me considering he was with the Chiefs and won a Super Bowl but did not play in that game due to injuries. Four solid years and productive years with the Bills then a down year in KC, McCoy is looking for another chance and a place to be a veteran presence. A team wouldn't sign someone like McCoy if they weren't going to put him on the 53 man roster so he is pretty much already guaranteed to make it. McCoys' roll in TB will be a teacher for all of the backs, a reliable and solid back if needed, and to start out the first few weeks of the season at least he will be most likely RB2. If McCoy doesn't get hurt he will be a RB2 and a RB3 this season because personally I expect the rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn to surpass him in mid to late season.
Mainly a special teamer but also a running back, Dare Ogunbowale touched the ball for the first time on offense last year while rushing for 17 yards and two touchdowns as he enters year four. Dare will be called upon more most likely this year while the Bucs figure out early in the season how they want to utilize everyone. Ogunbowale stands at 5'11" 205lbs and is the third heaviest back on the roster so that just screams goal line chances because Jones and McCoy weigh 207lbs but McCoy isn't built like that so Jones might get more goal line rushes then Dare. He is probably the most questionable back since he is just used on special teams, this training camp is very important for him and his career. If he loses out to T.J Logan he could be cut or put on the practice squad and he would be waiting until one of the running backs get hurt.
Last year T.J. Logan was the kick and punt return man for the Buccaneers, then he got hurt. Logan broke his thumb last season, assuming which is why Ogunbowale made the roster last year. On 13 returns for 124 yards in 12 games, Logan also caught and ran the ball but was mainly a special teamer. Since Logan was an actual returner and Dare and WR Justin Watson split time on returns, that gives him the edge to make the team over Dare, even though Dare did return kicks most of the time. Dare did return 12 kicks for 223 yards and no touchdowns. The battle for special teamer is on between Logan and Ogunbowale and if you are a fan of special teams, the situation in Tampa Bay is one to keep your eye on.
RB Depth Chart Predictions
RB1- Ronald Jones II
RB2- LeSean McCoy
RB3- Ke'Shawn Vaughn (R)
RB4/Special Teams- T.J. Logan
Practice Squad- Dare Ogunbowale
Let me know what you think of the breakdown in the comments and if you have any specific positions or position battles on any team that you want me to review, breakdown or analyze let me know in the comments below!