Is Doug Martin running on empty?
Martin, the Tampa Bay Bucs’ back who was second in the NFL in rushing two seasons ago, but who fell off substantially a year ago (to 421 yards) and finished the season suspended for PEDs, remains the property of the Bucs. However, there has been much speculation that the Bucs might check out a first-round running back in the upcoming draft.
The Bucs are still trying to figure out if they can give a roster spot to Martin, who will miss three weeks, or if they need to address the situation in other ways.
“Who knows what’s going to happen?” Bucs’ coach Dirk Koetter said at the NFL owners’ meeting Wednesday. “Are we going to add a running back in the draft? Is Doug going to continue down the path of good health? We have other guys we like at the position, too. I don’t know what’s going to happen as I sit here today. But right now, we have time on our side.”
The Bucs have Jacquizz Rogers, who started five games last year, to replace Martin for his three-game suspension. A number of mock drafts have the Bucs’ taking a running back.
“Every team is looking for a game-wrecker with that first pick, at whatever position he plays,” Koetter said. “I would think, of the 32 teams, everyone is saying ‘Man, this is a good running back draft. Maybe we ought to add one of those guys.”
The trouble with Martin, of course, is that he’s a feature back who doesn’t help on special teams.
“I’m a Martin fan,” Koetter said. “We would love to have Doug on our team. But when a guy’s been a Pro Bowl running back, and you know you’re not going to have him for the first three games of the year, how do you do the reps.”
Martin signed a huge contract before last season, but because of his suspension, the Bucs are no longer bound by it.