The Buccaneers traded back up into the end of the 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft to select Doug Martin, but according to the Tampa Bay Times, there’s still “clearly going to be a role” for incumbent starter LeGarrette Blount. This makes a lot of sense and confirms what I’ve already been thinking for a while.
Blount is currently working with the 1st team in OTAs and while he might not be the 1st team back during the season, he’s still a talented runner and Martin is still just a rookie and the Buccaneers are going to run a ton under new Head Coach Greg Schiano. Blount may be completely useless on passing downs, but he could still see close to a 50/50 split on running downs in 2012 and given the offensive philosophy Schiano wants to execute, that could be a fairly significant amount of carries.
Besides, Look at Joseph Addai (2009), Chris Wells (2011), DeAngelo Williams (2008), Marion Barber (2008), Fred Jackson (2010). All of those guys arguably had career years the season after their teams spent early picks on a running back. Meanwhile, backs drafted in the 1st round since 2007 have averaged 165 carries as rookies. I am projecting 810 yards and 6 touchdowns on 180 carries with 8 catches for 60 yards for Blount this season.