Cameron Brate – TE
When Rob Gronkowski is your starting tight end, and an oft-injured former first-round physical freak of a tight end is set to come back, it’s easy for the third guy in the tight end room to get lost in the shuffle. For Cameron Bate, that should not be the case.
Since joining the Buccaneers in 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of Harvard, he fought for a roster spot for about two years. Since joining the team full time, Brate hasn’t missed a game since 2016, when he missed one. For reference the season before in 2015 he missed two.
In the playoffs last season, all Brate did was catch 14 balls for 175 yards and a touchdown, which were better than that of Gronkowski. Gronk got the glory of the Super Bowl touchdowns, but Brate’s came in the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game, the last touchdown the Buccaneers would score in the game.
This just goes to show that Brate is still ol’ reliable for the Buccaneers. He’s proven that on the field (and staying on the field) and proved in the playoffs that he’s only getting better. Most importantly, Brady seems to be trusting him more and getting more comfortable with him as well.
With Gronk being still productive, but a shell of himself physically, and O.J. Howard’s body being, well, O.J. Howard’s, Brate should keep popping up on Bucs fan’s television screens in 2021, as he is a player that will just never go away, and that is perfectly fine.
These three players may technically be “backups”, but in no way are they insignificant. In 2021 and beyond, their significance will only grow.