With a new NFL season on the horizon, change is inevitable for every franchise. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a retooled offense will take shape under the direction of Dave Canales. He will bring a new system to Tampa Bay, similar to the one implemented in Seattle, with an emphasis on a quarterback-friendly scheme. The system is expected to have an uptick in wide-zone runs with movement up front. The run game will be accentuated in 2023, complementing the running back room featuring second-year pro Rachaad White, offseason acquisition Chase Edmonds and fourth-year player Ke'Shawn Vaughn.
The Bucs will likely aim to feature Rachaad White in a more prominent role in 2023, benefiting his slash running style. Last season, White accumulated 469 snaps (38.57%). White finished his rookie campaign with 481 yards on 129 rushes and a touchdown for an average of 3.7 yards per attempt. In the passing game, White contributed 290 yards on 50 receptions and two touchdowns. His improvement in pass protection on blitz pickups allowed him to stay on the field for all three downs. Although the stats will not show it – the Bucs finished last in the league in rushing offense in 2022, averaging 76.9 yards per game on the ground (franchise worst) – White had a productive season between the hashes. Falling behind dictated the flow of games for Tampa Bay last season and Canales will vie to revitalize the Bucs' ground attack in 2023. White is a natural runner when he gets to the second level, showing patience in block development. With good balance, body control, burst getting north and pass-catching skills out of the backfield, White will play an integral role for Tampa Bay's offense in 2023.
"I think it's an interesting room," Running Backs Coach Skip Peete described. "I know I evaluated Rachaad [White] coming out and I really liked him a lot. I think he's a very talented inside runner – a guy who has good vision and balance, has the ability to create on his own. I think he's really an underrated pass receiver coming out of the backfield. I really liked K. Vaughn coming out. I think he's a natural runner with good balance. He hasn't really been utilized a great deal in the passing game, but I think he's capable of doing that and I think we're going to give him that opportunity going forward.
"Patrick Laird is a guy that I know came out of the University of California that possessed a lot of different things as far as run skills, balance, pass protection, special teams qualities. I mean all those guys I think fit the room real well. It's going to be something that's a collective group that's going to work hard together and do good things together. Also, with Chase Edmonds, a guy who's played several years in this league that really can be a runner, receiver. I think the one thing that's going to help all of them is that they have a different unique style that's a little bit different from each other."
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, the club's fourth-year back, rushed for 109 yards on 26 carries in 2022, averaging 4.2 yards per tote. He saw minor bits of action, as did his counterpart Giovani Bernard (retired). Vaughn thrives as a one-cut runner, building momentum to create yards after contact. With leg drive, Vaughn is hard to bring down and possesses the patience to excel as an outside zone runner. He will compete for reps, along with Chase Edmonds. In March, Edmonds inked his deal with the Bucs, entering his sixth NFL season.
Edmonds spent the first four seasons of his career in Arizona (2018-21) prior to splitting the 2022 season between the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos. Over 70 career games played, Edmonds has tallied 2,874 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns. He joins Saquon Barkley as the only players from the 2018 draft class with 1,500-or-more career rushing yards and 1,000-or-more career receiving yards. In his first five seasons, Edmonds has recorded 401 carries for 1,796 yards (4.5 avg.) and 11 touchdowns, while hauling in 144 receptions for 1,078 yards and six touchdowns. Edmonds is effective at utilizing his redirection skills to exploit would-be tacklers. With lapses in containment, Edmonds makes defenses pay by working the perimeter. He adds athletic traits to the running back room.
After placing Kenjon Barner on Injured Reserve during the 2022 slate, the Bucs signed running back Patrick Laird in August to add depth. Laird spent three seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2019-21), appeared in 37 games (four starts), and contributed 76 rushes for 244 yards and one touchdown. In addition, he compiled 36 receptions for 289 yards in the passing game. He entered the league as a college free agent with the Dolphins in 2019 and will work to cement a role with the Bucs during training camp.
Following the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bucs signed undrafted free agents Ronnie Brown and Sean Tucker. Tucker (5-9, 207) produced 3,804 yards from scrimmage across 33 games for Syracuse in three seasons as a starter, including 3,182 on the ground. He followed up a 1,496-yard, 12-touchdown breakout year in 2021 with another 1,060 rushing yards and 11 scores last fall. He was a first-team All-America selection as a sophomore after setting single-season school records for rushing yards and 100-yard games (nine). Shepherd's Ronnie Brown, who accumulated 2,352 yards from scrimmage at the Division II level, was a first-team Division II All-American last fall after scoring 24 total touchdowns for the Rams. His career totals in 41 games for Shepherd featured 3,041 rushing yards (8.2 per carry), 81 receptions for 1,158 yards and 41 total touchdowns. Both will strive to leave an impression during training camp.
Position Group: Running Back
Ronnie Brown (UDFA)
Sean Tucker (UDFA)