The 2022 NFL Draft class of running backs is a talented one. Apparently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set at quarterback for the next 20 years as Tom Brady clearly isn’t slowing down. So, when it comes to projecting their draft needs for the 2022 NFL Draft, the Bucs can essentially once again go after the best player available at their exclusively individualized top need. That individualized need for Tampa in this situation is running back. Here are the top players the Bucs could target at the RB position throughout the 2022 NFL Draft.
Early-round 2022 NFL Draft running backs for the Bucs to target
Drafting a running back in the first round will certainly be open to criticism from some circles. But depending on where you sit on the analytics-in-football discussion, some running backs may demand your attention early on. Here are some of the top backs that Tampa could look to in the early rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Potential Round 1 running backs
That criticism would certainly be there if the Bucs did select a running back in Round 1. With the 30th overall pick currently projected to them, Tampa could potentially have their choice of any RB as there may not be any drafted at that point.
Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M
Isaiah Spiller will battle it out for the top running back spot all offseason long. After making it official that he’s entering the draft, Spiller vaults into the top spot on multiple draft boards. He’s a breakaway threat with terrific elusiveness and a developed game out of the backfield as a receiver.
What separates Spiller from most running backs, however, is his ability to maintain speed through his breaks. Spiller plants his foot, cuts upfield, and nearly gains speed through his elusiveness. That’s rare in a running back.
Breece Hall, Iowa State
Drawing comparisons to a bevy of running backs in the NFL, Breece Hall is set to break out in his rookie year due to his development and NFL readiness. Hall is an elusive back with a power to his game.
He may see comparisons to David Montgomery, but Hall actually may be more of an NFL back like Kareem Hunt. Either way you slice it, he is a home-run threat and comes coached by Matt Campbell. That’s a recipe for breaking the first-round mold and breaking out in 2022 as well.
Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State
Emerging on the national stage at Michigan State this season, Kenneth Walker III has been impressive since his days at Wake Forest. Walker is a physical runner with plus-athleticism and great elusiveness. He’ll fight for extra yardage while taking what is made available. There’s a one-cut to his game but also some terrific vision to boot.
Walker may not contribute to the passing game all that much but that can be learned. If he succeeds, he’d become an easy three-down back in the process.
Potential 2022 NFL Draft Day 2 running back targets for Tampa
If they don’t attack the RB position with their first-round draft pick, the Bucs could look to target one with their selections in Round 2 or 3. Here are some of those backs that should be available with Tampa currently projected to have Picks 62 and 94 on Day 2.
Tyler Allgeier, BYU
There isn’t much to dislike about Tyler Allgeier. The former grocery store worker and walk-on linebacker took the college football world by storm the past two seasons. After moving full-time to RB for the 2020 campaign, Allgeier set BYU records and produced back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He is physical at the point of contact and brings an underrated speed to his game.
You’ll fall in love with the story faster than you’ll fall in love with his game, but that’s a testament to the way he conducts himself off the field. Allgeier is a three-down back and has significantly fewer miles on him despite two years of great success in Provo.
Jerome Ford, Cincinnati
A former Alabama transfer, Jerome Ford broke out in a big way for Cincinnati in 2021. He’s a big-play threat with great vision. While Ford may lack the elusiveness of the players listed above him, there’s no denying his long speed and straight-line moves. If Tampa wants to continue to deploy multiple running backs in the backfield, Ford would quickly become the bell cow on the ground, allowing other backs to be more featured in the passing game.
Kyren Williams, Notre Dame
A near-perfect selection for the Bucs, Kyren Williams is as great in the receiving game as he is on the ground. Just find a way for Williams to get the ball, and he’ll make it worthwhile. He doesn’t quite have the elite-level skills in one aspect, but Williams is far above-average in nearly everything he does. Williams would be a dream pick in Round 3 for Tampa if he’s there.
Late running backs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to target
Days 1 and 2 could pass the Bucs by without a running back drafted. That’d be fine because there is a bevy of options later in the draft. Here are some names to keep an eye on.
- Sincere McCormick, UTSA
- Dameon Pierce, Florida
- Tyler Badie, Missouri
- James Cook, Georgia
- Abram Smith, Baylor
Of this group, there is a variety of options for the Bucs. Tyler Badie represents potentially the 2022 NFL Draft’s top dual-threat at the position. Dameon Pierce runs with ferociousness and an attitude. Abram Smith has upside as he just recently moved back to the position while James Cook never really broke out but owns all the tools.
If the Bucs were to select a player like Sincere McCormick, they’d be grabbing a talented back with something to prove. Hailing from UTSA, he has certainly played behind a talented offensive line and against some poor defenses. However, his skill set is transcendent of the level of play he was up against. McCormick is an uber-talented back through the tackles with speed to beat defensive backs to the corner.
While there are a bevy of names to watch out for, these options all fit what the Bucs may want to run offensively as Brady continues to dominate through the air.
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