The Buccaneers learned the hard way last season what their offense looks like without Cameron Brate. After enjoying a breakout season to the tune of 57 catches, 660 yards and 8 touchdowns, Brate was injured early in the Buccaneers’ week 16 match-up with New Orleans. With Brate out of the line-up Brandon Myers, Luke Stocker and Alan Cross were unable to pick up the slack; we even saw Myers miss a potential touchdown that Brate surely would have hauled in.
Even if we go into the settings and turn off injuries like Madden, tight end remains a position of need. Dirk Koetter’s offense relies heavily on tight ends and many times last season he deployed lineups with all three of Cam Brate, Luke Stocker and Brandon Myers in them. Before Austin Sefarian-Jenkins got popped for a DUI the Bucs were planning on featuring Jenkins as the primary run-blocking tight end with Brate as the pass catcher and Luke Stocker as a hybrid full-back.
With Brandon Myers set to be a free agent, the Buccaneers will have no choice but to at least patch the position. Martellus Bennett, Jared Cook, Jermaine Gresham and Dion Sims are all available veterans that the Buccaneers could have some interest in, though they’ll be looking for someone that can block in order to allow Cameron Brate more flexibility as a pass catcher.
The extraordinary depth of tight end talent in this draft is going to tempt Jason Licht to make one his now infamous bold picks from out of left field. O.J. Howard, David Njoku, Evan Enram and Jake Butt are all extremely talented in their own ways and players that could be sneaky candidates to be mid-round, or in the case of Howard or Njoku, potentially first round picks for the Bucs.