The Buccaneers used two of their first three draft picks on offensive players, but they veered away from predictions that they would add a running back in the first two days of the draft.
Doug Martin is suspended for the first three games of next season and has no guaranteed money left on his deal as a result of the suspension, leading some to think they’d prepare to move on from him during the draft. General Manager Jason Licht had positive things to say about Martin on Friday night when he was asked about not picking a back, however.
“We’ve been happy with the trajectory that he’s on. I’ve said that before but it’s true,’’ Licht said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s had the right mindset and we still have some time there. But just two years ago, he was the second-leading rusher in the NFL. You know, we like Jacquizz [Rodgers] and Charles [Sims] and Peyton [Barber]. Sometimes people seem to think that’s a [need]. In the building, we feel comfortable with our guys and that includes Doug.”
That group of running backs got a little bigger in the fifth round when the Bucs drafted Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols. McNichols ran for 3,046 yards and 43 touchdowns over the last two seasons and added 88 receptions, something that lumps him in with tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Chris Godwin as draft picks who could aid Jameis Winston.
Whether that will be enough to push Martin, who also went to Boise State, or another of the backs off the roster remains to be seen, but Tampa has given itself another option out of the backfield.