Former Florida Running Back Headlines Buccaneers’ Free-Agent Visits

Jordan Scarlett

Getty The Buccaneers will meet with free-agent running back Jordan Scarlett.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have a lot of work to do and the team is hosting six free agents on Monday as the team continues to look to improve their roster. Former Florida running back Jordan Scarlett and Ohio State wide receiver Johnnie Dixon headline the group of free agents meeting with the Bucs.

“Testing with Bucs this weekend and due to work out Monday: TE Codey McElroy, WR Travis Jonsen, RB Jordan Scarlett, WR Johnnie Dixon, WR/RB Taquan Mizzell, TE Charles Scarff,” The Athletic’s Greg Auman noted on Twitter.

The Buccaneers have been dealing with numerous injuries, particularly on offense. As the workout list shows, the Bucs have a number of running backs and tight ends who have injuries. LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette have both been sidelined and the team lost O.J. Howard for the rest of the season.

Scarlett Rushed for 889 Yards & 6 Touchdowns for the Gators in 2016

Scarlett played three years at Florida and his best statistical season came in 2016 when the running back notched 179 rushes for 889 yards and six touchdowns. The Panthers selected Scarlett in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera praised Scarlett during the preseason.

“For the limited snaps he got, he ran the ball really well, ran it really hard,” Rivera explained to the Charlotte Observer. “He played well on special teams, made one of the tackles.”

Scarlett found it difficult to see the field behind Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey and appeared in just one game rushing four times for nine yards. The Panthers released Scarlett just before the start of the 2020 season.

The Bucs also have several wide receivers with injuries including Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Dixon is another intriguing player on the free-agent visit list as the receiver had a successful college career at Ohio State. Dixon had 669 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2018 with the Buckeyes. The receiver has spent time with the Texans and Cardinals during his short NFL career.

Vita Vea Will Miss the Rest of the Season

It is not just the offense that is dealing with injuries as defensive tackle Vita Vea sustained a season-ending ankle injury against the Bears. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians admitted it is hard to replace the production of players like Vea and Howard.

“It’ll be a big loss,” Arians explained, per “[When] you lose players like O.J. and Vita, you can plug the next man in, but they’re not the same. I hate it for him because he was having such a great year. …I don’t know if there was a better nose tackle out there. He was getting sacks. He was getting pressure up the middle. [He] got hurt on a great hustle play on the side going back and forth and it was really friendly fire that got his leg. He was playing really, really well.”

It will be interesting to see if the Buccaneers add some free-agent defensive tackles to their visit list. Tampa takes on Green Bay in Week 6 as they look to get back on track after a disappointing loss in Chicago.