20 years young. That is how young Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones was when Dirk Koetter & company drafted him 38th overall in 2018. A game of hot potato at the QB position in 2018 along with a crowded backfield led to a disappointing rookie campaign. With the arrival of head coach Bruce Arians & offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich in 2019, Jones stock was sitting pretty. However, Bruce went with the “hot hand” approach, thus causing Jones to play the hand he was dealt. Still producing, Jones rumbled for 724 yards on the ground along with 309 through the air. With the arrival of Tom Brady, we could see Jones rise to the occasion before our eyes in 2020.
Read More about Josh Wells reuniting with the Buccaneers here
What puts Rojo above the rest
With a sports season threatened of regularity due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NFL teams are going to rely on familiar faces. A lot. The Buccaneers did not address the running back position in free agency like many would of thought. They did however add 2 in the draft, 3rd round pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn & 7th round pick Raymond Calais. Although these two young backs bring much needed depth to the Buccaneers, they do not threaten Rojo for his starting gig. Rojo is familiar with the Leftwich & Arians offensive attack, which fortifies him as the top dog. Look for the Buccaneers to pair the Veteran with the new captain & face of the franchise, Tom Brady.
The TB12 impact
It is not everyday that the city of Tampa lands the biggest star in perhaps sports history. The Buccaneers need to do all they can to make TB12 feel comfortable. With a oddly structured off-season in progress, it is crucial Brady feels comfortable. Arians may change his approach from the hot hand one of 2019, to more of a veteran lead roll in 2020 out of the backfield. Brady will turn 43 in August, & there is no secret with age comes hardship on the throwing arm. It is important that the Buccaneers have reliable hands coming out of the backfield, and Rojo provides just that. Jones hauled in 31 passes for over 300 yards last season in a running back by committee role. Given the chance to become a 16 game starter next to the goat, he may go for around 500 yards on 50 grabs this upcoming season.
What team does not like to hand the ball off when the game is all but over? Last year, the Buccaneers were trailing in almost every game at one point in time. Often trailing, they had no choice but to pass. With improvements to the offense, hopefully Brady & company could submerge big enough leads where the ground game is more of a need in the Bay area. Jones scampered to the tune of 724 yards on 172 carries. Being a lead back on a franchise expected to be playoff bound, Jones should have no problem surpassing 1000 yards on the ground.
A warm welcome for Tristan Wirfs
Tristan Wirfs was perhaps the most hyped offensive tackle heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. The viral video of him jumping out of a pool alongside a dynamic combine set him up to be the top selected tackle. Somehow, he fell into the lap of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at pick # 13. Ronald Jones, Tom Brady, & the rest of the gang are smiling. Wirfs is a mauler in the trenches, & should surely open up some running lanes for Rojo. Last years right tackle, Demar Dotson, was decent in pass protection but struggled mightily in the running game. A young pup like Wirfs stepping in should excite Rojo, & just about any fantasy owner of his.
Fantasy Football stock
Whatever format your commissioner constructs – keep Ronald Jones II in the back of your mind. With majority of franchises shifting to multiple running backs, it leaves a lot of questions on Sundays for fantasy owners. Jones is a great under the radar fantasy option for owners who like lead dog backfields. Plenty of catches are to be had with the goat at the helm. Plenty of touchdown opportunities will arise. Although passes will come, solidified leads should make sure he gets work on the ground game. Rojo is becoming a must start for just about any fantasy owner right before our eyes.
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Hi All - welcome to a little bit about me. I have been a sports freak for over 24 years, a Buccaneer fanatic for over 21 years, A fantasy football legend, among a bunch of other sports nerd things. I write for Time Skew Sports. Give us a follow on twitter @TimeSkewPod