Fantasy Alert: Bucs Have 'A Lot of Faith' in Ronald Jones Before 2020 NFL Draft

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II (27) runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

Ronald Jones II hasn't flashed star-level potential in his first two NFL seasons, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expressing faith in the running back as the 2020 NFL draft approaches.

"We have a lot of faith in Ronald. We have more faith in him than we ever have," Bucs general manager Jason Licht said, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.

The Bucs have most of their offensive skill positions filled, with Tom Brady's signing solidifying them as one of the best on-paper units in football. Jones is viewed as a potential weak spot, a solid-but-not-spectacular player who rarely had the full faith of coach Bruce Arians last season.

The USC product finished with 724 rushing yards and six touchdowns, adding 31 receptions for 309 yards through the air. Pro Football Focus gave him a middling 67.6 grade. 

It would make sense for the Bucs to target a running back in Day 2 of April's draft, especially given Brady's propensity to pass to running backs in New England. Pass-catching backs such as Georgia's D'Andre Swift or LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire could be draft targets and reduce Jones' snaps.

Both Swift (5'8", 212 lbs) and Edwards-Helaire (5'7", 207 lbs) are smaller backs, though, so they may fit more into a James White-type role with the 5'11", 208-pound Jones occupying the Sony Michel grinder mold. 

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For now, though, Licht appears to have faith in Jones as a lead back. He projects as a solid RB2 but would immediately drop to a flex option if the Bucs take a running back early in the draft.