Countdown to camp: Running backs

Let’s turn to the running backs as we continue our pre-camp position-by-position analysis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This is probably the deepest position on the roster and that’s a good thing because running backs have a tendency to get banged up. That happened to starter Doug Martin last year. Backup Mike James stepped in and was doing a nice job before he got injured. The Bucs then turned to Bobby Rainey, who played well.

Martin is healthy now and James and Rainey have some experience. The Bucs also want to take a long look at former Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps. So what did the Bucs do in the draft? They used a third-round pick on running back Charles Sims, who has skills as a runner and a receiver.

Coach Lovie Smith likes to say you can never have enough running backs and he appears to have plenty. Smith has said he doesn’t want Martin to carry the entire load. That’s smart because it will prevent Martin from wearing out. But Martin is a talent and he’s going to get the bulk of the carries.

The biggest question is which of the other backs will get playing time. James and Rainey have shown they can play and the Bucs didn’t draft Sims to have him sit on the bench.

Training camp and the preseason will be used to determine the pecking order.