Sims First Off the Board for WVU

Charles Sims

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have shown a liking for West Virginia players over the past few years, and they continued that trend with the selection of running back Charles Sims in the NFL Draft on Friday night.

With former Mountaineers such as Anthony Becht, Keith Tandy and Najee Goode dotting their roster history, it might not have been a surprise to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Charles Sims with the fifth pick in the third round (#69 overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Sims, a versatile runner who can catch the ball well and projects as a third down weapon as well as a change of pace back in the NFL. He played one season for WVU, and was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year on the strength of 1,095 rushing yards and another 401 via the pass. He scored 14 touchdowns for the Mountaineers and tied for the team lead in catches with 45.

Sims enters a somewhat crowded backfield in Tampa Bay, where Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey, Mike James and Jeff Demps all currently hold roster slots. None of those backs have more than three years' NFL experience, so the drafting of Sims isn't intended to replace an aging veteran. Demps had just one carry and three receptions in two games a year ago, and his slight stature could portend more action as a slot receiver.

Rainey (137 carries) and Martin (127) were the workhorses a year ago, while James also got some time with 60 carries in eight games. Brian Leonard had 47 carries for the Bucs in 2013, but has departed via free agency.

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