- RB Charles Sims caught over 200 passes in four seasons at Houston and West Virginia
- Sims joins a talented Buccaneers backfield as the offense continues to get an overhaul in 2014
- For the first time in franchise history, the Bucs have used each of their first three picks on the RB-WR-TE positions
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't go into the 2014 draft intent on pouring all of their early assets into the offense, but after two days they have ended up with an unprecedented run on skill-position players.
Late Friday evening, the Buccaneers used a high third-round selection on West Virginia running back Charles Sims. That followed first and second-round nods to Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans and Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, respectively, a pair of players chosen with the highest picks the Bucs have ever devoted to those positions.
Sims, the 69th overall pick, is obviously not the highest-picked running back in franchise annals, and yet his spot in the draft is noteworthy because the Buccaneers already seemed to have significant running back depth with Doug Martin, Mike James and Bobby Rainey. A talented pass-catcher out of the backfield who can produce on all three downs, Sims will join with Evans and Seferian-Jenkins to give the NFL's 32nd-ranked offense a decidedly new look in 2014.
After addressing both sides of the ball in an aggressive run through free agency in March, the Buccaneers have devoted their attention to offense during the first half of the draft. In fact, this marks the first time in franchise history that the team has used its first three picks on targets for the quarterback – receivers, backs and tight ends.
The Buccaneers considered Sims the top pass-catching back in this year's class (as did NFL Network's Mike Mayock) and a clear standout on their draft board early in the third round. The team may have dealt to a position of strength with the selection – particularly with the presence of Martin and his 1,926-yards-from-scrimmage rookie season in 2012 – but it added a new dimension to the offense just as it did with the selections of Evans and Seferian-Jenkins. Over four seasons at West Virginia and the University of Houston, Sims caught 203 passes for 2,108 yards (10.4 avg.) and 11 touchdowns. He also ran 384 times for 2,370 yards and another 29 scores.
In his one season in the Mountaineers offense, Sims ran for 1,095 yards, averaged 5.3 yards per tote, caught 45 passes and was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. At 6-0 and 214 pounds he is powerfully compact but also very quick and fluid, with a running style that Head Coach Lovie Smith has compared to that of Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte.
The final four rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft will take place on Saturday, beginning at noon ET. The Buccaneers currently do not own a fourth-round pick but are scheduled to make one selection each in the fifth, sixth and seventh stanzas.