Southern California’s Ronald Jones II was selected by one of the most running back-needy teams in the league, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with pick No. 38. Jones’ insertion into Tampa checks the majority of the boxes of our Fantasy Stock Formula, highlighted by Talent, Opportunity, Surrounding Talent and Upside.
With Doug Martin making us look awfully bad last season, as he was a complete zero in an offense that dripped in potential, the team smartly moved on from the volatile running back, leaving a gaping value hole that was waiting to be filled. Jones was added to a running back room that features a handful of castoffs and meh players, such as Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber, and should have no issue winning that job.
I wrote a film breakdown on Jones and called him the “most underrated running back in the nation” and I’m standing my ground on that. Jones’ film was only rivaled by Saquon Barkley’s and one could argue that it was more consistent than Barkley’s. Over his last two seasons at SC, Jones totaled 2,632 yards and a whopping 31 touchdowns. His best attributes are his vision and ability to read his blocks, his elite acceleration and his ball security (two fumbles on 591 carries). Unfortunately, his acceleration and speed was unable to be shown at the combine, as he came up lame with a hamstring injury during his 40-yard dash. With Sam Darnold looking to push the ball downfield, Jones was not utilized as a pass-catcher as much as we hoped, but he’s more than capable to catch dump offs and swing passes.
Overall, Jones is a dynamic runner who so-called ‘experts’ were down on for some reason. Fortunately, Jones’ landing spot will make him a day-one impact player with upside to make one of the biggest splashes as a rookie at his position.