Facing the very likely possibility that Cadillac Williams' career could be over, I figured now would be a good time to introduce a new gimmick here at the BBB. Throughout the season we will take a look at college players playing a position of need for the Bucs. First up, runningbacks which it now looks very likely to Bucs will have to draft on the first day.
DARREN MCFADDEN (Arkansas)
164.3 yds/game, 6 TDs
The manbeast. If you haven't seen McFadden yet you are missing out on one of the best players in college football. He's a lock for a top five draft pick which would put him out of the Bucs reach as well as they have been playing.
STEVE SLATON (West Virginia)
111.2 yds/game, 9 TDs
Overlooked coming out of high school, Slaton fell to West Virginia. An undersized runner with an extra gear Slaton can also catch balls out of the backfield. Slaton's 54 yard performance against South Florida is a little discomforting but then again he was limited to 13 carries for 4.2 yards a carry against a very good Bulls defense.
124 yds/game, 5 TDs
RYAN TORAIN (Arizona St)
102 yds/game, 5 TDs
I have not seen either on of these guys play but Phil Steele is high on them and rates them as the #3 and #4 backs in college football. Maybe if ESPN has decided to play the Cal/Oregon game on the east coast I would have some more info on Stewart. Torain, good luck getting on the east coast until you play USC and their shut down defense.
JUSTIN FORSETT (Cal)
117 yds/game, 9 TDs
The only Pac-10 back I've seen, Forsett is another speedster. Impressively, Forsett had his best game (156 yards, 1 TD) against a very good defense in Tennessee.
MIKE HART (Michigan)
152.2 yds/game, 7 TDs
An Emmitt Smith type back, Hart has excelled despite less than impressive physical attributes. Not the fastest back or the biggest, Hart has exceptional vision and patience. He has been Michigan's only offensive weapon and leads the NCAA in carries by a signifact margin, 157 to the next closest of 139.
RAY RICE (Rutgers)
132 yds/game, 9 TDs
A similar back to Hart, Rice has been the engine for the Rutgers resurgence machine. He is a better athlete than Hart and, again, very similar to Emmitt Smith.
With the obvious exception of McFadden there is no back that jumps out at me as an obvious selection. I was high on Slaton until his game against USF, although USF was very lucky to get out to an early lead in that game thus negating Slaton as a back. Whomever the Bucs potentially select I hope they draft a back who can catch the ball. Pittman has done a good job filling in obvious passing downs but the Bucs need a back who stay on the field no matter the down. In Gruden's west coast offense it would help if the back could be involved in the passing game.
There might be a few guys I add onto this list, and a few I take off as the season progresses. Additionally, I will take a look at other positions in the college football realm.