Ronald Jones
RB TB (7)
1 year ago

Jones had six carries for seven yards and one reception for 37 yards in Friday's preseason game against the Lions.

EDGE Analysis

Peyton Barber got the start and was once again far more effective on the ground, but it wasn't a total lost cause for Jones, who burnt a linebacker to catch a deep pass while split out wide. The rookie reportedly has struggled with drops during training camp, prompting running backs coach Tim Spencer to say earlier this week that there's a reason Jones was only targeted 17 times at USC last season. Though he may be a work in progress, the second-round pick possesses the kind of explosive athleticism that hints at long-term upside in the passing game. Of course, he'll likely have to settle for a change-of-pace role entering Week 1, with Barber likely to get most of the carries and Jacquizz Rodgers or Shaun Wilson handling most passing downs. Charles Sims (knee) is out of the picture, but that probably isn't a significant development for Jones' value, considering Sims might not have made the team even if he'd stayed healthy.

Ronald Jones
RB TB (7)
1 year ago

Jones' struggles with drops during practice haven't gone unnoticed by the Tampa Bay coaching staff, ESPN.com's Jenna Laine reports. "In college, there was probably a reason why [Jones] was only thrown the ball 17 times," said Bucs running backs coach Tim Spencer. "He's never going to be the best catching guy on the team, but he certainly can improve on catching the balls that we want to throw to him."

EDGE Analysis

In addition to commenting on the rookie second-round pick, Spencer acknowledged that Peyton Barber has solidified his own place atop the depth chart. Jones may still enter Week 1 with some kind of role in the backfield, but he hasn't exactly made the best case for himself with 12 carries for 11 yards and a touchdown through two preseason games. The USC product only caught 32 passes in 40 collegiate appearances, though he did average 13.4 yards on 14 receptions last year, proving to be dangerous once he got the ball in his hands.

Ronald Jones
RB TB (7)
1 year ago

Peyton Barber seems to have an early edge over Jones, Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times reports. "Peyton is our starter," Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said Monday. "We're definitely going to use Ronald Jones and take advantage of what he's going to do. We do have the two veteran backs behind him. Again, we've got three more preseason games. Let's just let it sort out a little more."

EDGE Analysis

Jones took eight carries for nine yards and a touchdown in Thursday's preseason opener against Miami, getting all of his opportunities after Barber -- who had four carries for 21 yards and a score -- had been removed from the game. Koetter seems content with the current pecking order, though his Monday comment did leave the door open for Jones to make a push for the starting job over the final three weeks of the preseason. With Charles Sims, Jacquizz Rodgers and Shaun Wilson competing for a role on passing downs, Tampa seems to be headed for a three-man backfield committee to open the season. Jones offers upside as the best pure running talent of the group, but uncertainty about his workload is also a big factor in the valuation process.

Ronald Jones
RB TB (7)
1 year ago

Jones has struggled with pass protection during training camp, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

EDGE Analysis

Already expected to split work with Peyton Barber this fall, Jones could particularly struggle to carve out a majority stake in backfield snaps if he can't prove capable of protecting his quarterback. Furthermore, Jones only caught 32 passes in three years at USC, so he seemingly has work to do on multiple fronts in order to be a factor on third downs this season. That said, running backs coach Tim Spencer recently indicated that Jones' pass-catching chops are developing. "They didn't throw him a lot of balls at USC. But [Jones'] hands have improved, and if he keeps on improving, that speed is something else," Spencer said.

Ronald Jones
RB TB (7)
1 year ago

Jones has been receiving first-team reps since Friday's practice and has looked the part of a starting running back, Carmen Vitali of the team's official site reports.

EDGE Analysis

The former USC Trojan has looked stout and quick in his cuts according to Vitali, who notes that Jones has been seeing his work with the first unit tick up after an initial camp practice Thursday where he spent more time with the twos. The team are particularly seeking a home-run dimension from Jones, who notched 12 runs of 40 or more yards during his college career. Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Bucs are one of five teams (the Patriots, Texans, Colts and Lions being the others) that hasn't had a running back rip off a run of greater than 50 yards since 2015, and the solid but somewhat plodding Peyto Barber -- Jones' primary competition for touches -- isn't prone to explosive plays very often. Therefore, the opportunity for significant playing time is Jones' for the taking with a strong camp and preseason.

Ronald Jones
RB TB (7)
1 year ago

Jones signed his rookie contract Thursday, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports.

EDGE Analysis

The second-round selection was the last of the Buccaneers' eight draft picks to ink his rookie deal. Jones received the four-year contract that all players selected from the second round onward are slotted into, one that also contains a team option for a fifth season. The former USC Trojan will be counted on to provide a big-play dimension that the Tampa backfield has lacked for multiple seasons, and he could ultimately end up splitting carries fairly evenly with incumbent lead back Peyton Barber.

Ronald Jones
RB TB (7)
1 year ago

Jones, who only notched 32 receptions during his college career at USC, is nevertheless expected to have a pass-catching role during his rookie season, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. "We certainly hope that he's going to be a three-down back and I certainly envision him [being one]," said Buccaneers running back coach Tim Spencer. "Obviously, he's got some work to do in terms of being able to run certain pass routes, motioning around, catching the ball, but he can pick up the blitzes and things like that."

EDGE Analysis

Jones brings excellent speed to the table, something the Bucs have sorely lacked in their backfield for quite some time. Tellingly, Tampa hasn't ranked any higher than 28th in number of runs of either 10 or 20 yards over the last two seasons, and no Bucs back has logged a run of 50 or more yards since the 2015 campaign. Therefore, the team plans to try and maximize every opportunity to get the rookie out in the open field, which includes matching him up against linebackers and safeties on pass routes out of the backfield. Jones is expected to initially share carries with Peyton Barber heading into the 2018 season, although Smith reports that head coach Dirk Koetter could certainly devise plays where both players are on the field simultaneously.

Ronald Jones
RB TB (7)
2 years ago

Jones caught a deep ball in Saturday's rookie minicamp practice and was frequently targeted in Friday's opening session as well, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.

EDGE Analysis

Jones hauled in a modest 32 receptions over the 40 games spanning his three seasons at USC, yet his speed and ability in space afford him plenty of upside as a pass-catcher at the NFL level. Laine reports the second-round pick was mostly targeted on screens and checkdowns Friday, but he got downfield Saturday for a long reception. He'll have opportunities to potentially even line up wide in Dirk Koetter's offense during the coming season, which dovetails perfectly with Jones' stated goal of becoming more of a receiving threat heading into his first professional campaign, Carmen Vitali of the team's official site reports. "Just being a complete back, catching out of the backfield," Jones said of his goals now that he's at the next level. [I'm] just working on that, progressing, making my game overall better."