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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the 2013 season with a need at tight end, yet did not seem to address it properly via free agency or the draft. The Bucs added Tom Crabtree, who was never going to be a top-flight tight end, and hoped to rely on Luke Stocker and Nate Byham to produce from the position.
But it was an unheralded fourth tight end, Tim Wright, who would make the roster and pan out to be a surprising talent for the Bucs.
With a new regime in town, and new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s love of “speed in space,” where does Wright fit in moving forward?
That’s the topic of this Pewter Plank Mailbag.
— FourthDownandOut (@DundeeNFL) February 28, 2014
This is an interesting situation, because for many teams, Tim Wright could be a capable receiver with a big frame and reliable hands. But since the Buccaneers already have two receivers like that, and have a need for more speed on offense, would it make sense for the Buccaneers to make that sort of move?
I don’t think so, and I think that Wright’s current role at tight end will be his best under Jeff Tedford. Wright’s 40 time in college was between 4.6 and 4.7 seconds, according to NFL Draft Scout, which puts him on par with most of the new breed of athletic tight ends in the NFL today.
So rather than attempting to find another, faster tight end, the Buccaneers should stick with Wright, and look for an every speedier upgrade at wide receiver, where athleticism doesn’t come at such a high premium. There is a wealth of options for the Buccaneers at wide receiver in free agency and the draft, and many of them boast game-breaking speed.
That said, Tim Wright’s job isn’t safe. If the Buccaneers are in a position to draft North Carolina’s Eric Ebron or any of the other top TE targets in this summer’s draft, it would still be a wise move. Wright can be used effectively as a second tight end, playing off of the line of scrimmage and helping to create further mismatches in the middle of the field.
But the main need on offense is speed, whether that comes in the form of a third receiver, “offensive weapon,” or a new tight end. Wright will have a role to play on the Buccaneers in 2014, and it will almost certainly be at tight end, where he provides a athletic ability that Jeff Tedford will use to his advantage.