Reports are that the Bucs have made a deal for running back Michael Bennett. Bennett has been backing up Larry Johnson in Kansas City for the past two seasons, but with Priest Holmes apparently ready to play, Bennett became expendable. The Chiefs will get a conditional draft pick for Bennett, but those details have not been released yet.
Bennett went to Wisconsin and was a sprinter along with being the starting running back. He was stuck behind Ron Dayne his first two seasons, but broke out his junior year for 1,592 yards, despite missing two games with injury. Bennett ran a 4.13 40 yard dash at pro day and is rumored to be one of the fastest men in the NFL. He was a first round draft pick by Vikings in 2001 and had a pro bowl sophomore campaign in 2002.
The problem for Bennett has been injuries. After his 2002 year he went down with a foot injury and has not been fully healthy since that year. He is an effective back when he is on the field, but that has been only a few games a season. The Bucs have had bad luck with injuries to their running backs, so it is worrisome that they signed another guy who has been injury prone. If Bennett can stay healthy he will be a nice addition to the backfield, but other than his sophmore year he has yet to stay healthy for an entire year.
If the Bucs were going to make a move, this was probably the best move they could make without mortgaging future drafts to get a guy in here that may not contribute. Bennett does have great hands and should be a great third down back for the Bucs. He is not a power back and with his injury history he is not a guy you want to feature, but he will be a nice change up from Earnest Graham. Bennett also gives the Bucs another guy they can put back to return kicks that may be effective. He has the speed and shiftiness needed to be a good return man and could help give the Bucs good field position on kick offs.
We will have to wait and see what Bennett does for the Bucs and what the condition of the pick was, but this is not a bad move. Teams knew that the Bucs were in need of a back and had outrageous demands for third string running backs. This is not the sexy move that fans wanted, but it may be enough to hold on until Michael Pittman can come back from his injury.