Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The best version of the tight end room

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are building an impressive offense around Tom Brady with the tight end position being one of their focal points.

Between Tom Brady‘s reliance on tight ends and Bruce Arians’ use of 12 personnel sets, the tight end position will be more critical for the Buccaneers in 2020 than it has ever been.

Tampa Bay has generally had one of the better tight end groups over the past few years, but they will make a compelling claim to having the best unit in the NFL this year.

O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are already one of the best tight end duos in the entire NFL. They may not have fully shown up on the stat sheet last season, but Tom Brady already had two great options to throw to with this pair. The addition of Rob Gronkowski is just overkill.

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Somehow, Brady was able to convince Gronk to return from retirement and request a trade to the Buccaneers. This gives Brady three extremely talented tight end options with several opportunities present for all three to be on the field at the same time.

Outside of the main three, the Bucs do have some important decisions to make at the position before the season begins. Tanner Hudson was a fan favorite going into last season, and Antony Auclair has the chance to be the best blocking tight end on the roster.

Given the reliance on 12 personnel sets and the versatility of some of the players in this group, Tampa Bay should keep all five on the roster for 2020. This may seem like a lot, but Brate, Howard, and Gronk are talented enough to line up as pure pass-catchers, and Auclair could be very important in three tight end sets.

Keeping five tight ends on the roster could be tricky given the need for backups on the offensive line and wide receiver depth, but tight ends like these will make the absence of a sixth receiver hurt less.

It will be extremely difficult for all five of these players to make the final roster given other position allocations. Still, the Buccaneers will get the best opportunity to win if they all end up playing during the regular season.

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