Second-round pick Ronald Jones of USC has turned heads in Bucs rookie minicamp as a big-play addition for this fall. But could a second rookie running back make the cut with the Bucs?
Duke's Shaun Wilson, who got looks on punt returns at Saturday's rookie minicamp practice, is hoping special-teams value could help him stick around as an undrafted rookie.
"We thought it was a good fit," Wilson said of choosing the Bucs after the draft. "The special-teams coach liked me, so I have a chance to contribute on special teams and on returns. I just felt like there was a good chance to make the 53."
Wilson, 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season at Duke, but his career is loaded with promising flashes and long touchdowns. He had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Indiana in 2015, a 96-yard score on a kickoff return in Duke's win against Notre Dame in 2016, and a 76-yard kickoff return this past season.
Big rushing games? He had touchdowns of 69, 68 and 46 yards in a 245-yard game against Kansas as a freshman in 2014, and he went for 176 against Baylor last year. He had an 85-yard run and an 89-yard catch in 2015 as well.
The Bucs return Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims from last year, with Jones displacing Doug Martin as a primary ballcarrier. So Wilson would have to beat out a proven veteran in Rodgers or Sims if the Bucs carried only four backs on roster.
Pass protection, which can be a limiting factor for a young back, is something Wilson said he's always taken pride in doing well.
"When I was in college, that was always expected from my running backs coach," he said. "In order to play, you had to be able to pass-protect, and I knew that coming in from the get-go. I wouldn't be here if I didn't feel I could do that."