Buccaneers Sign ‘Jeep Trackhawk’ Running Back

Jason Licht

Getty Jason Licht brought in D.J. Williams as an undrafted free agent.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added running back depth after the draft with the addition of former Arizona back D.J. Williams as an undrafted free agent.

Williams’ former Arizona running back teammates called him a “Jeep Trackhawk” as part of the unit’s vehicle-related nicknames for each other. A 6-foot-0 and 225-pound back, Williams bruised opponents amid 748 yards and eight touchdowns in his career.

“We have this thing in the room where we label ourselves as cars,” Arizona running back Jonah Coleman told Justin Spears of the Arizona Daily Star in October 2023.

Coleman explained Williams is “so big he’ll run through you, but he’ll literally run past you” as the reason for the “Jeep Trackhawk” reference. Williams brings a much-needed quality to Tampa with a career average of 5.2 yards per carry.

“We don’t know how he does it,” Coleman said about Williams. “I think DJ is the fastest on the team when he gets rolling.”

Williams has a climb to crack to the Buccaneers 53-man roster later this summer, but he could help a running game that hasn’t inspired in recent years. The Buccaneers finished last in the league for a second-straight year at 3.4 yards per carry and 88.8 yards per game.

Buccaneers Also Addressed RB Needs in Draft

Tampa Bay also addressed running back in the draft with Bucky Irving, a fourth-round pick from Oregon. A 5-foot-10 and 195-pound back, Irving produced back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Ducks and 16 touchdowns in that span. He had 2,937 yards and 20 touchdowns plus 95 receptions for 785 yards and touchdowns in three seasons between Oregon and Minnesota.

“The first guy doesn’t tackle him,” Buccaneers assistant general manager John Spytek explained on April 28.

It’s the kind of thing lacking at One Buc Place. Buccaneers starter Rachaad White said he’s working with running backs coach Pete Peete on reducing solo tackles against him.

“We’ve been talking about that a lot already… It’s fun, for sure, to be out in space and not have a bunch of guys all over you, climbing on you and trying to tackle you,” White said in an April 15 press conference.

Bucky Irving Wants to Build Bucs Backfield

Irving, who expressed respect for White, wants to build the backfield with him.

“It’s a blessing, man,” Irving told reporters on April 27. “I used to watch Rachaad White highlights. Being able to come in and learn from a guy like him, I think it will be great for me to just to pick his brain on how he translated from college to the NFL. I’m trying to win football games, I’m trying to be that 1-2 punch. Let’s get it rolling.”

The Buccaneers also have Chase Edmonds on the roster after limited production in 2023 with 49 carries for 176 yards plus 14 catches for 81 yards. Tampa Bay also has Sean Tucker, who joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2023 as Williams did this year.

A Lake Placid, Florida, native, Williams could move ahead of Tucker and possibly challenge Edmonds as neither had productive seasons last year. Tucker only had 23 yards on 15 carries plus two catches for nine yards amid limited snaps.

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