Bucs' 1st-Round Pick Martin Opens Camp as Lead Running Back

Sigmund Bloom@SigmundBloomNFL Draft Lead WriterJuly 27, 2012

TAMPA, FL -  MAY 4: Running back Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers talks to the media after a rookie practice at the Buccaneers practice facility May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Greg Schiano had a running back that he loved to lean on at Rutgers. His team made sure to get a new version of Ray Rice for him in the 2012 NFL draft. After a spring that featured LeGarrette Blount in the backfield, first-round pick Doug Martin appears to be on track to lead the Buccaneers' running game.

After the Buccaneers gave up the fourth-round pick they received for moving down from the fifth pick to the seventh pick to move back in the first round for Martin, it was widely speculated he would assume the No. 1 running-back role from day one in Tampa. The team had other plans, though.

Scott Reynolds of PewterReport.com passed along that Blount had actually gotten the majority of first-team reps in OTAs, with Martin being mixed in along with Mossis Madu and seventh-round pick Michael Smith.

After the team's first training camp practice, Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times had something very different to report:

If today's practice suggests anything it's that Doug Martin looks like #Bucs primary RB. But it's just the 1st practice, so too early to say

— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) July 27, 2012


Holder qualifies his observation by saying its still too early to draw conclusions from this change, but it does stand in stark contrast to the way the Buccaneers handled the running backs in the spring.

There have been many assertions by beat writers that both backs will have a large role in the backfield, but this team will aim to run the ball at least 400 times this year. That Martin was the primary back the first time Schiano marched his team out for a "real" practice says something about his intentions. Now it's up to Martin to give Schiano more reasons to make him Tampa's first-string running back.