The Buccaneers traded back up into the end of the 1st round to grab Doug Martin and many assumed that he would be the lead back for the Buccaneers this season. However, LeGarrette Blount, who has been the lead back for the last two seasons, is still getting most of the 1st team reps in minicamp. The Buccaneers may just be making Martin earn his starting job, but both Mark Barron and Lavonte David, their other two early picks, are already working with the first team. Doug Martin will play most or all of the passing downs because, even though Blount has reportedly improved that area of his game this offseason, he’s still a liability in those situations. However, Blount could easily get a 50/50 split or more of the early downs.
I actually think Blount is underrated in fantasy circles. He’s still a talented runner that averaged 5.0 yards per carry in 2010, though he was out of shape last season. He’s worked his way back into shape this offseason, likely motivated by Martin’s arrival. 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. The Buccaneers will run a ton this season and Blount could get the goal line carries. He’s still a strong mid round running back.