Bucs fans are trying to get over the nightmare that Luke Stocker has been since Tampa Bay drafted him.
Last season, rookie WR-turned-TE Tim Wright (a Schiano man out of Rutgers) helped us forget that Stocker even existed. Wright showed off his pass-catching prowess, and created mismatches for defenses as an undrafted free agent in 2013.
While he had an amazing season, the Buccaneers still needed to add more to the position. Wright had struggled with blocking all year long (which was expected out of a former receiver), and will have to improve on that aspect of his game heading into 2014.
With that known, Tampa Bay added veteran tight end Brandon Myers in free agency. Myers caught 79 passes for 806 yards and 4 TDs in 2012 for the Oakland Raiders, and 47 passes for 522 yards and 4 TDs in last year’s dismal New York Giant offense.
So with all this pass-catching prowess, who is going to do the blocking?
Wright is very green with his blocking skills at this time. Myers is an average blocker who will get the job done, but not wow you with his blocking abilities. Luke Stocker, is…well…Luke Stocker. And Tom Crabtree, who had trouble staying healthy last season, is another guy who seems to do better catching passes than blocking.
We’re seeing a new breed of tight end in today’s NFL, but the Bucs don’t need someone of that new breed at this time. They have two pretty good tight ends that can catch, and can start for the team this year.
If the Buccaneers want to find a tight end to compete for a roster spot, it would be wise they look for someone who is known for his blocking skills.
It is vital for the Bucs to get someone like that; not just for depth at the tight end position, but also to improve a shallow offensive line on a handful of plays per game.
2014’s NFL Draft is full of the pass-catchers, like Eric Ebron from UNC, or Jace Amaro of Texas Tech. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scouting department has to find someone who is more concerned with putting his hand on the opponent, rather than getting his hands on the football.
If he can catch, that’s a plus.
But right now, it is not a necessity. Blocking is.