Since the start of free agency, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ running back room has changed dramatically. The organization was expected to let Leonard Fournette (RB) go and find a new starting quarterback. When Tom Brady announced his plan to come out of retirement, the Buccaneers emphasized bringing Fournette back.
The Buccaneers also re-signed Giovani Bernard (RB) and have Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB), a promising prospect, under contract. With former running back Ronald Jones (RB) joining the Chiefs in free agency in 2022, Vaughn will have the opportunity to expand his role.
The Buccaneers have been actively researching running backs leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft. They’re doing so even though they have a capable starter and two potential possibilities behind him.
A Strong Option
The Buccaneers met with South Dakota State running back Pierre Strong via Zoom on Monday. Strong has seen his attention from teams grow significantly since a solid showing at the NFL combine. Last season the 5-foot-11, 205-pound running back led the FCS Division in rushing with 1,673 yards and 18 touchdowns. Strong, a redshirt senior, has five games with 150+ rushing yards in 15 appearances last season. In the FCS Playoffs, he rushed for 185 yards and a touchdown on 19 runs.
Strong had a standout performance at the combine last month to go along with his impressive results on the field. He ran a 4.37 40, and had a 36-inch vertical jump, making him the fastest running back in attendance. Strong Jr. also had a 10-foot-4-inch broad jump, demonstrating his burst and ability to compete at the next level.
With the draft right around the corner, Tampa Bay has addressed some of its concerns at running back, but the team still appears to be interested in acquiring a young prospect to add depth to the position.
Strong is expected to be drafted in the fourth round. The Buccaneers have pick in each of the first four rounds, as well as two picks in the seventh round. Whether they would spend a third or a fourth rounder on Strong seems like a possibility.
Pierre Strong Highlights
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