NFL DRAFT Links
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2015 draft wasn't all offense, as it surprisingly played out a year earlier, but it was close. To close out their seven rounds of draft work on Saturday evening, the Buccaneers selected Hawaii running back Joey Iosefa with the 231st overall selection, giving the team six new players on the offensive side of the ball.
Iosefa joins quarterback Jameis Winston, tackle Donovan Smith, guard Ali Marpet and wide receivers Kenny Bell and Kaelin Clay as new additions to Tampa Bay's offense. Like most of those other five, Iosefa has a legitimate chance to win a starting job during his debut NFL campaign, in his case at fullback. While he was one of the team's primary ballcarriers at Hawaii, he has the size and power to land a role as a lead blocker in the NFL while also adding value with the football in his hands.
General Manager Jason Licht said the rookie will get a shot to start at fullback in the Buccaneers' backfield.
INFOGRAPHIC: RB Joey Iosefa
The 6-0, 247-pound Iosefa has been a key part of the Warriors' rushing attack since his 2011 freshman campaign, when he played in 13 games and made 11 starts at running back. He led the team that season with 548 yards on 110 carries, averaging 5.0 yards per tote and finding the end zone seven times. Despite missing a significant amount of time due to foot injuries over the past two seasons, he was also Hawaii's leading rusher in 2013 (with 590 yards) and its second-leading rusher in 2014 (with 643 yards).
Overall, Iosefa played in 32 games for Hawaii, starting 29. He rushed 512 times for 2,244 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 4.4 yards per carry, and also caught 60 passes for another 438 yards and three scores.
Iosefa was born in American Samoa, where he also played his high school football as a quarterback, safety and linebacker. A gifted and versatile athlete, he also played volleyball, soccer and rugby during his prep years.