The tight end position was one of much fluctuation for the 2015 Buccaneers as starter Austin Seferian-Jenkins battled injury early and bad attitude late.
Cameron Brate stepped in for ASJ and turned in very consistent performance for his rookie quarterback a year ago, and it earned him the starting job in camp.
Since then the starter and former starter have been neck-and-neck as far as camp performance goes with many believing ASJ had maybe even turned a corner with his maturity on the field. Then came the on-field tantrum during Wednesday’s Redskins finale.
Of course, none of this could warrant cutting the obviously talented tight end, so he and Brate will take the field more like 1a and 1b than a clear starter and backup.
The surprise here is the team will carry five total tight ends into the regular season.
The bigger surprise is “Super-Back” Dan Vitale not being one of them. The team seemed to get Vitale into the mix during the pre-season, but gimmick and misdirection plays just never really panned out and the Northwestern star wasn’t able to really leave a lasting impact.
Undrafted rookie Alan Cross will make the roster as a noteworthy surprise, but his fans have been very boisterous since his addition to the camp roster and they appear to have been right.
Cross is credited with just three catches for 27 yards this pre-season, so there’s obviously something there the team sees beyond his limited production. Special teams value and potential go a long way to securing a spot, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cross taking some snaps as a fullback when the team needs one to step in.