When you think of the Buccaneers 2018 draft class, you probably first think about Vita Vea, and then the two Day 2 defensive backs Carlton Davis and MJ Stewart. But there were two other Day 2 picks for Tampa, and those two players could be the key to the Bucs success in 2019. With Bruce Arians in town, the Bucs will be expected once again to feature a formidable passing attack. And with Todd Bowles bringing his defence to Tampa, that side of the ball should see some major improvement from the mess we’ve seen the last few years. But the big key to the Bucs 2019 season could be whether or not Tampa Bay will finally be able to run the ball.
Ronald Jones II was an early 2nd rounder and was expected to bring some of the juice he showed off at USC to the Buccaneers backfield. Instead, the early entrant found himself mostly watching from the sideline- when he wasn’t getting hit in the backfield. Jones is an explosive former track athlete, but his less than ideal size, lack of receiving ability, poor pass blocking technique, and not understanding the playbook doomed him before he could get started under coach Koetter. The hope is now with a year of being an NFLer under his belt, Jones will be able to hit the ground running in his second season. So far, so good, as he has been one of the standouts of spring practice.
Alex Cappa was a late 3rd round pick, coming out of division 3. And perhaps with the immediate success Ali Marpet was able to find on a similar path, expectations might have been too high for the raw Cappa’s rookie year. What Cappa brings more than anything is a bully mentality to an offensive line that needs one, and a projectable physical profile that just needs some development. It appears as though Cappa has been able to add some mass to his great frame, and if he’s able to have his technique coached up, he could be a big part of the Buccaneers line this season and going forward. With the Bucs virtually ignoring the o-line in both free agency and the draft, it’s clear Jason Licht still has great faith in Cappa.
What the Bucs really need from Cappa and Jones, is for the combo to bring a running game back to Tampa Bay. Both players were high upside picks at their given draft slots, but both clearly weren’t ready to contribute as rookies. With the huge liability that Right Guard was last year, Cappa could be a natural fit to help open up some holes. And maybe, just maybe, some daylight is all Ronald Jones needs to be the player the Buccaneers envisioned when they took him 38th overall.