Bucs overloaded at running back


The most common post-draft question I’m getting is why did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers use a third-round draft pick on West Virginia running back Charles Sims.

The Bucs already had Doug Martin, Mike James, Bobby Rainey and Jeff Demps on the roster, so this was hardly a position of need. It makes me wonder if the coaching staff isn’t high on Martin. After an outstanding rookie year, Martin struggled catching passes out of the backfield before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last season.

In new coordinator Jeff Tedford’s offense, it’s very important for the running backs to catch passes, and that’s what Sims does best. I don’t know if Sims is ready to challenge Martin for the starting job. But I can easily see a scenario where Sims is used as a third-down and change-of-pace back.

Sims’ draft status pretty much means he’s going to be no worse than No. 2 on the depth chart. That sets up an interesting training camp battle among James, Rainey and Demps. They will be the three guys competing for what likely will be only two roster spots behind Martin and Sims.

James played well filling in for an injured Martin last season before suffering an ankle injury of his own. Rainey followed James and also played well. The Bucs are high on the potential of Demps, who was an Olympic sprinter.

But, barring injury in camp or the preseason, the Bucs are going to have to part ways with at least one talented running back.