Life after Tom Brady is going to be different in Tampa Bay. That’s why the Buccaneers are seriously considering drafting Bijan Robinson in Round 1.
There’s little debate among NFL executives that Bijan Robinson is the top running back in this year’s draft class. The relevant question is what team will be willing to make the bold move to draft him in Round 1.
Plenty of executives believe the running back position doesn’t hold enough value to justify the use of a first-round pick. Don’t count Buccaneers GM Jason Licht in that group. When asked about the possibility of selecting a running back with the No. 19 overall selection the Tampa Bay executive responded that he’d pull the trigger if it was a “special player.”
NFL Rumors: Could Buccaneers take Bijan Robinson?
Robinson fits that description for a lot of scouts. It’s easy to connect the dots and see what the Buccaneers’ GM was trying to accomplish here. He either truly is interested in nabbing Robinson with the team’s first pick in this month’s draft or he’s actively working on a smokescreen to force teams to trade up if they want to nab the versatile running back.
Rachaad White is currently the top running back on Tampa’s depth chart but he’s hardly a difference-maker. The 24-year-old only averaged 3.7 yards per rush on 129 carries last season. It’s easy to understand why the Buccaneers would be interested in acquiring an upgrade.
The team’s downgrade at the quarterback position also points to a logical desire to improve the team’s rushing attack. The performance gap between Tom Brady and Baker Mayfield is massive. Tampa Bay needs to prop their reclamation project up with a powerful ground game if they want to help Mayfield perform at a high level.
Ultimately, it’s a smart move for Licht to publicly express his willingness to spend a first-rounder on Robinson. He’s the sort of dynamic player that GMs can fall in love with at the running back position. The Buccaneers should fully explore the potential trade value of the No. 19 pick. Using that selection to acquire Robinson would be a gamble. Selling it to a team infatuated with the star running back could be the best possible outcome for the Buccaneers.