Yardbarker Horiz

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Big At Running Back?

By now, Buccaneer fans understand General Manager Mark Dominik is very serious about filling every roster spot with a quality football player.  His eye for free agents has been uncanny, resulting in finds like Donald Penn and LeGarrette Blount.

So it's worth the time to take a peek at what happened January 4th, 2011, or, more precisely, what arrived.  January 4th was the day the end-of-season practice squad roster had it's members signed to the offseason roster -- have new surprises arrived?

One big thing that arrived was Rendrick Taylor.  Taylor was signed on May 3rd, 2010, and spent the offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers only to be cut on the final roster countdown after training camp last year.  Obviously, he left a big impression.

Taylor is a 2010 free agent, undrafted out of Clemson.  The 6'2", 265lbs running back was a 5th year senior with a history of injuries in college including a broken wrist in 2005 and a broken arm in 2006.  He missed his entire 4th college season (2008) due to injury.

Nonetheless, the Buccaneers brought Taylor back to the practice squad on December 8th, 2010 and signed him to the current roster on January 4th, 2011.  He fills a void left when Chris Pressley, the only fullback on the Tampa Bay roster at the time, was cut in October 2010 to make room for offensive line promotions as the injuries started to pile up last season.

Can Taylor be a surprise in 2011?  Journeyman Erik Lorig played well at fullback during the second half of last year, but it's still not clear if the Buccaneers would rather use Lorig at tight end or defensive end.  Taylor is the tallest and heaviest runner on the Tampa Bay roster, and the Buccaneers plan to continue to develop their physical running game.

This will be a key offseason for Taylor, making him a story worth watching during the next training camp. If he has worked through his injuries and is healthy again he could be a player which extends the game for others, like Lorig or Earnest Graham, which would make him very valuable to the team.

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