Another position filled with tremendous pass catchers. Tampa Bay features one of the best tight end duos in the league. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are both phenomenal receiving options and will be significant factors in the Buccaneer offense in 2018.
Howard is the player to watch in this group. Tampa’s 2017 first-round selection has exceptional talent. Howard’s poised for a breakout season similar to Chris Godwin.
Howard caught 26 passes last season for 432 yards. He didn’t take the world by storm, but he doesn’t play like a typical tight end. He goes vertical when linebackers are trying to cover them, Brate will stick relatively close to the quarterback while Howard plays more like a wideout.
Last season, Brate continued to play the safety valve role for quarterback Jameis Winston. With Howard in the mix, he saw a small dip in numbers, but his six touchdowns still make him a factor in the red zone. Look for Brate to be a big third down target in crunch time as well.
The back end of the tight end depth chart is intriguing. Anthony Auclair became a hot story in training camp last season, and although he only caught two passes last year, he is a nice developmental piece.
Alan “Honcho” Cross is a fullback/tight end hybrid and should also be in the mix as an occasional target in the passing game. Both of the backups will have a tough time getting many targets, but they are essential special teams players and have the coaching staff’s trust to contribute in a pinch.