UPDATE 9:20 p.m.: Leonard Fournette has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will compete with Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the backfield. Jones had his left foot wrapped in ice recently, so this is something to watch.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have found their starting running back in Ronald Jones. Jones came into this season No. 1 on the depth chart after Peyton Barber went to Washington, but nothing was given to him. The Bucs drafted Ke’Shawn Vaughn and signed LeSean McCoy to compete, but Vaughn has been quiet in camp and McCoy is past his prime.
Coach Bruce Arians has been complimentary to Jones all camp, and as we close in on the season, he had this to say about his back:
#Bucs HC Bruce Arians says that the biggest thing for Ronald Jones is that he’s really improved his hands in the passing game. There was one day where he was dropping passes but he fixed that. His blitz pickup has been good, he’s looking like an all-around back.
For all intents and purposes, this competition is over and Jones will be the no-doubt starter entering the season. Jones showed improvement as a receiver last season, after doing little in the passing game in college. And now it appears he has upped that skill-set once again. That is critical for him when working with Tom Brady, as he is adept at getting the ball to his back through the air. If he continues to play well as a receiver, his upside will be big this season.
For now, Vaughn is off our fantasy radar while McCoy is Jones’ handcuff. If Jones were to go down, I’d expect Vaughn to get more chances to prove himself, but McCoy’s ability as a blocker and receiver would likely give him the first shot.
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