Four More Serviceable Running Backs Who Could Be Bucs in 2015

NFL NEWS: Tampa Bay Bucs

The Bucs need all the help they can get beyond the first overall pick, but these names could help ease the transition from the backfield.

I previously suggested Frank Gore and DeMarco Murray as possibilities, but with a talent-deep draft at running back, a few more names have popped up who were recently made available.

Vikings_Adrian_Peterson_2013Adrian Peterson

The Minnesota Vikings were without his services for the majority of 2014 due to legal issues with child abuse allegations. Despite approaching his 30th birthday, Petersons ran for 10,190 rushing yards and 86 touchdowns through eight seasons with the team. The only times he hasnt made at least 1,000 rushing yards? This past year and 2011.

As demand for backs pushing 30 diminish, Petersons proven to be an invaluable commodity to the Vikings. In the year of his absence, Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon combined for 1,018 of the teams 1,804 rushing yards for the team.

Petersons status remains in limbo as Vikings are split about wanting his return, the league meandering through the legal system with his suspension and yielding possible trade offers from four teams. ESPNs Stephen A. Smith speculates the Bucs are among the four teams. Former Vikings head coach and current Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier only adds fuel to this fire.

The Vikings havent had the first overall pick in the draft the entire time Petersons been with the team. Just think how well other teams with quarterbacks with the first overall pick could have done if a talent like Petersons were to fall into their lap?

Among the current Bucs backfield, the only consistent healthy player for the team hasnt even broke 1,000 career rushing yards in his third season in the league in Bobby Rainey.

Falcons_Steven_Jackson_2013Steven Jackson

Jackson has never been part of a winning team, yet, hes remained productive for the better part of his 11 years in the league. Hes rushed for over 1,000 yards for eight straight seasons since 2005 as part of the St. Louis Rams. Despite his frequent production, he was never able to catch on with Atlanta Falcons, who released him Thursday, since his arrival in 2013.

Whether Jackson is cursed, the Falcons suffered from a combined 10-22 record in his time with the team that ultimately resulted in head coach Mike Smiths firing. The reason why Jackson makes this list is because Dirk Koetter, who used to run the Falcons offense is now running the Bucs.

With the offensive overhaul and Koetters prior success running the football with the Jacksonville Jaguars, perhaps the change of scenery could be the very answer needed. Given the diminished value of the position and familiarity with the division, there could be incentive to stay within.

Mark Ingram

Ingrams coming off his most productive season in the league earning Pro Bowl honors. He rushed for 964 rushing yards and nine touchdowns for the season.

Ingrams rushed for 2,426 yards and 20 touchdowns in his four years with the league. While the New Orleans Saints tend to favor the running back-by-committee approach giving way to the passing attack of quarterback Drew Brees, Ingram could thrive in a more traditional offense.

Despite his desire to stay with the Saints, the team declined to pick up his option. Perhaps a team like the Bucs could throw some extra incentive to take him to that next level.

Justin ForsettJustin Forsett

Playing in relief of the Baltimore Ravens‘ former starter Ray Rice, Forsett thrived for the first time in his seven-year career. Not bad for the former seventh rounder who was originally drafted in 2008 by the Seattle Seahawks. He rushed for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns, both career highs, averaging 5.4 yards a carry, which has been consistent trend for him in four of his seven years in the league.

While Forsetts contract prevents the Ravens from resigning him until he hits free agency, his value may not be as high at 29, but there will be teams that will covet him. The only reasons why the Bucs might be wary of him is his age and the fact theyve been burned before on a highly touted gamble (i.e.: Josh McCown), but one thing in the teams favor the market for his position.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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