Buccaneers Could Land ‘Ideal’ Running Back Amid GM Comments: Analysis - Sport News

Buccaneers Could Land ‘Ideal’ Running Back Amid GM Comments: Analysis

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht wants to improve the backfield, and Texas star running back Jonathon Brooks could fit the bill.

“We love Chase [Edmonds] and obviously Rachaad [White], but we’re looking for another running back to be in the competition there to carry some of the load,” Licht told reporters on Tuesday at the annual NFL league meeting in Orlando.

Texas RB Jonathon Brooks honors father's memory with every touchdown | FOX Sports

Edmonds and White only amounted to 1,169 rushing yards and six touchdowns combined in 2023. The Buccaneers could grab Brooks after the first round though Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema considers him the top back in the draft.

“Brooks is an ideal blend of size, speed, strength and agility,” Sikkema wrote. “Though limited in snap totals, he has good vision in both gap and zone run schemes. If he can get back to form following his torn ACL, he has all the goods to be a starting running back in the NFL.”

Coming out of Bijan Robinson‘s shadow last season, Brooks rushed for 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns in 11 games for 2023. His season ended in November 2023 when he tore his ACL against TCU.

Jonathon Brooks Expects Full Recovery by Training Camp

Brooks expects to be back to full strength in time for the NFL season. He said as much during an interview at the NFL Combine in February.

“I’m weeks into my recovery, so I’m just starting to get to running,” Brooks told reporters. “Expected timeline is training camp. July 1 or the start of training camp.”

Brooks had played sparingly behind Robinson before 2023 amid just 340 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games. The Buccaneers, which passed on Robinson last year, have been at the bottom of the league in running the ball since 2022.

After parting ways with Leonard Fournette following the 2021 season, Tampa Bay hasn’t found a feature back in White nor Edmunds. The Buccaneers also didn’t have depth last season as no other running back eclipsed 100 yards for the whole year.

Jonathon Brooks Compared to Former All-Pro Back

I’ll be honest…I had preconceived opinion on Jonathon Brooks but after watching his film I can appreciate his game and had to change my opinion.

Outside the obvious speed difference, His style does remind me of Jamaal Charles

Without the ACL injury, strong case for RB1 in my…

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Brooks to former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. The former All-Pro and Pro Bowler tallied 7,563 yards and 44 touchdowns in 11 seasons.

“The comparison of Brooks to former Longhorn Jamaal Charles might feel lazy to some, but he has similar size and traits as a runner. Brooks’ limited collegiate carries could be seen as a balancing agent against the fact he’s coming off an ACL tear,” Zierlein wrote.

“He’s agile and smooth working from cut to cut and is likely to improve his feel for reading blocks and setting up defenders as he gains experience,” Zierlein added. “Brooks has the wiggle and know-how to create yardage in tight quarters or in space but is efficient finishing runs when it’s time.”

Tampa Bay didn’t have that last season as White and Edmonds both averaged 3.6 yards per carry. Brooks averaged 6.2 yards for his collegiate career at Texas.

“He has good burst but can be a little hesitant to punch the gas between the tackles until he sees clear points of entry, and he isn’t a physical run finisher,” Zierlein wrote. “Brooks is a runner on an upward trajectory. He’s a good pass catcher with three-down potential who should fit nicely as an early starter for zone-heavy teams.”

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