Brate and Howard might be the best set of tight ends in the league. Stockers, who I had on the bubble going into training camp, knowledge of the offense and blocking ability gets him another year with the Bucs.
Alan Cross is in a competition with Austin Johnson for the fullback/tight end spot. I like Johnson, he is a good blocker and better pass catcher than gets credit for, but I still thinks Cross earns the spot. Cross gets open and catches the ball. What more do really want? Also Cross spends a ton of time with Jameis Winston after practice and he is the first player on the field before practice putting in extra work. Cross knew he was on the bubble going into training camp and has done everything right. Cross wins the spot on intangibles.
The Bucs had a draftable grade on Antony Auclair. The tight end who played his college ball in Canada and is still learning the rules of the American version of football. Auclair is a more athletic version of Luke Stocker. Which means he can block but get separation while running routes. I believe the Bucs feel Auclair won’t clear waivers and they will lose the raw UDFA. Auclair needs at least one year to develop and the team is willing to use a roster spot to make sure he develops as a Buc.