No. 1- Jimmie Giles (1978-1986)
Claiming the top spot on this list, by no surprise at all, is a Buccaneer legend: Jimmie Giles. Not only is Giles the best tight end in franchise history, but also one of the best receivers. He was drafted in 1977 by the Houston Oilers before coming to Tampa Bay in 1978. He was with the Bucs until 1986, but his time with the team was not without conflict. For a few years, he had issues with the coaching staff. He was used more as a blocker for years due to those problems, then held out of training camp at one point. But despite all of that, he was the best Tampa Bay tight end ever.
Over his nine years with the Bucs, he caught 279 passes (eighth among all receivers) for 4,300 yards (fourth) and 34 touchdowns (first). All of those numbers, obviously, are the best out of all Buccaneer tight ends. He played on three playoff teams, including the 1979 team that lost 9-0 in the NFC title game. His best season came in 1981, when he put up career-highs in catches (45) and yards (786). In 1985, Giles caught four touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins. That’s still a single-game franchise record to this day.
What’s even more notable about Giles’ performance and overall numbers is the fact that he wasn’t used as much as he could have been. The league as a whole didn’t feature tight ends all that much, but because he fell out of favor with his coaches at one point, he lost out on some valuable time. Had he always been featured as the top talent that he was, maybe he would be at the very top of every receiving category in the team’s record books. Regardless, he is still immortalized inside Raymond James Stadium. In 2011, Giles was the third person, and first offensive player, inducted into the stadium’s Ring of Honor. He is more than deserving of that honor. And of course, he is more than deserving of his top spot on this list of the Bucs’ best tight ends ever.