After adding Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski this offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been popular picks to make not just a playoff run in 2020, but also challenge for a Super Bowl berth.
Brady will have an embarrassment of riches in terms of pass-catchers, including a pair of Pro Bowl wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but will the team's weakest link hold back what could be one of the league's most powerful offenses?
MMQB's Conor Orr recently broke down the biggest weakness for each of the NFL's 32 teams, and he pegs the running back spot as the problem area for Tampa Bay:
At the risk of buying in too much, the more I look at this Buccaneers roster, the more dangerous it appears. There are certainly some tiny dents, but so much of what is missing on the defensive side of the ball can be mitigated by Todd Bowles, who, in my mind, is one of the best five or six defensive coordinators in football. Running back sticks out because the quarterback and tight end positions got so much better in the offseason. Ronald Jones displayed some solid characteristics last year and was in the upper tier of running backs who faced a high percentage of loaded eight-man fronts (Jones ran against a stacked box on more than 25% of his carries).
It's hard to argue with Orr's perspective here, even if just by default. Tampa Bay's defense came on strong down the stretch last season, as their young players started to finally catch up to the speed of the NFL game and got more comfortable with Todd Bowles' scheme. They have key veterans on defense, as well, with guys like Shaq Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David anchoring a promising unit.
Tampa Bay's offensive line returns four starters, and they added a blue-chip right tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft, trading up to land Iowa's Tristan Wirfs with the 13th overall pick.
That leaves the running back spot, where Ronald Jones II takes over the No. 1 spot now that Peyton Barber is playing elsewhere. The Bucs spent a third-round pick in this year's draft on Vanderbilt's Ke'Shawn Vaughn, hoping he can fill the James White role for Brady in Tampa Bay as a third-down, pass-catching specialist out of the backfield.
That group is clearly the most unproven on the entire roster, which makes them the easy pick for the team's weakest link heading into the 2020 season.