Buccaneers: A very early 53-man roster prediction
By Zach Sauers
OJ Howard, Cameron Brate, Luke Stocker, Antony Auclair, Austin Johnson (FB)
After drafting OJ Howard in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bucs have what looks to be the best tight end group in the NFL. Yes, you read that correctly. Not only do the Bucs finally have that true Y tight end in Howard, but they also were able to bring in another exciting rookie in undrafted free agent Antony Auclair.
Pairing both rookie tight ends with a true receiving tight in the returning Cameron Brate brings something to the table that will have Head Coach Dirk Koetter drooling. Koetter’s two tight end offensive schemes were put to bed this past season due to the bust in Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but no longer will they be forgotten about.
Howard and Brate will see much of the action during this upcoming season, with Luke Stocker and Auclair receiving much of the blocking duties. In Auclair Tampa has a prospect they can groom in homes of one day replacing the aging Stocker, but that does not come this season.
The final spot in the tight end position goes to the end of the 2016 season signee, Austin Johnson. Johnson who saw most of his playing time as a former Saint, was brought in at the end of the season for a reason. This leads one to suspect that Koetter is once again looking for a true fullback for the upcoming season. Typically when players are picked up off the streets towards the end of the NFL regular season, it is in order to keep the rest of the league away from that player.
Sorry, Alan Cross fans. This hurts me too.