The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing to usher in a new era under Head Coach Todd Bowles, who replaced Bruce Arians on Wednesday following his shocking retirement. According to multiple reports, Bowles is expected to make changes to Tampa’s offense despite retaining Byron Leftwich as his offensive coordinator and Tom Brady returning as the team’s quarterback following a short-lived retirement of his own. Local beat writers indicate the Buccaneers may choose to run the football on a more consistent basis under Bowles’ guidance. It would certainly qualify as a shift in Tampa’s offensive approach after the Buccaneers had the second highest pass rate over expected throughout the 2021 campaign.
Should the Buccaneers indeed commit to running the football in 2022, General Manager Jason Licht will need to further address the position. Licht retained running back Leonard Fournette on a three-year, $21 million contract that contains $9 million in guarantees. It was a massive victory for Licht and the Buccaneers given Fournette’s performance. The former Jacksonville Jaguar was extremely consistent in 2021 by accounting for 1,266 total yards of offense (812 rushing and 454 receiving), while matching a career-high 10 touchdowns. Fournette has however struggled with injury and isn’t an ideal third-down running back. If the Buccaneers are going to move forward with a rushing-based attack, they must draft a quality No. 2 ball-carrier.
Iowa State’s Breece Hall is an excellent scheme fit.
A three-year mainstay for the Cyclones, Hall has operated as one of the most electric ball-carriers in all of college football in recent memory. Hall has firmly been on the NFL Draft map for quite some time and has an excellent chance to be the first running back drafted. In three seasons at Iowa State, Hall accounted for an astounding 3,941 rushing yards and a staggering 50 touchdowns, while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. A natural pass-catcher, Hall added 82 receptions for 734 receiving yards and six touchdowns while posting career-highs in all reception categories throughout 2021.
Hall could quickly make an impact for the Bucs as a pass-catcher. Bowles and Leftwich should have interest in pairing Fournette with a ball-carrier that is better suited to handle third-down passing duties, especially given that a Brady-led offense has always benefited from a high-level pass-catcher in the backfield. Just ask the Atlanta Falcons how Brady utilized the services of James White.
Hall attended the NFL Scouting Combine in March and caught the attention of all 32 franchises by recording a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, a 40-inch vertical and a 126-inch broad jump. These results placed Hall within elite company from an athletic perspective and further enforced the likelihood that he’s going to be drafted sooner rather than later.
Hall recently spoke with The Draft Network exclusively and he used the opportunity to highlight his pass-catching talents.
“I would just tell them to watch my film,” Hall said of his receiving skills. “If you see some of the catches I’ve made, I feel like I’ve made some pretty remarkable catches throughout my time at Iowa State.”
Change is undeniably on the horizon within Tampa’s running back room ahead of the 2022 campaign. Fellow ball-carrier Ronald Jones II departed the franchise earlier this offseason by signing a one-year, low-cost contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. The 38th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jones unfortunately failed to meet expectations throughout a disappointing four-year tenure in Tampa Bay. Fellow draftee Ke’Shawn Vaughn has also struggled to establish a role in Tampa’s offense, a development that should make Tampa extremely interested in drafting a running back later this month. Hall makes a ton of sense.
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