If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t bring in another tight end, could we see an offensive approach without a true “alpha” for the Buccaneers?
As of right now, the Bucs have four tight ends on the roster. One of them is a veteran who’s been with the franchise for years, but was never considered a “true“ starter. One is a practice squad player, and the other two are rookies taken in the fourth and sixth round of the draft. With the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, and the departure of O.J. Howard via free agency, the Buccaneers suddenly find themselves without a true starter or alpha at the position.
That doesn’t mean all is lost, far from it. It’s entirely possible that the Buccaneers can run a “tight end by committee” approach to they’re offense in 2022.
Cameron Brate has been nothing but dependable for the Bucs. While he’s now being penciled in as a de facto starter for the first time in his career, Ol’ Reliable is currently third all-time in the franchise’s history for touchdown receptions, needing only one more to tie Jimmie Giles for second place. Brate has always been more of a receiving tight end, with his blocking ability leaving much to be desired. Luckily, the Buccaneers in a fantastic job in the draft preparing for life without Gronk.
Fourth-round draft choice Cade Otton is an all-around beast at the tight end position. He’s a natural receiver with fantastic run-after-the-catch ability, and it’s also a very serviceable blocker. He and Brate should be able to provide a solid one-two punch at the position. Otton isn’t the only tight end the Bucs drafted this year though.
Ko Kieft, the man the Buccaneers drafted in the sixth round of this year’s draft, is the opposite of the other two. While a serviceable receiver when called upon, Kieft is the blocking specialist. Standing at at 6’5″ and tipping the scales at 265 pounds, this beautiful bowling ball of a ballplayer should be perfectly capable of handling the heavy lifting as it pertains to blocking while the other two members of this hypothetical committee catch the majority of Tom Brady’s perfect passes.
Speaking of Brady, when he’s your quarterback anything is possible. With the GOAT of GOATs slinging the rock to these tight ends, there’s a little reason to believe that this will blow up in the Bucs’ faces. Besides, it isn’t like they haven’t used a variation of this approach when Gronk and Howard were in Tampa Bay. Heck, Brady even ran an offense like this for a while in New England.
The fourth tight and currently on the roster, Codey McElroy, will more likely than not for fill the role he always had as the practice squad tight end and roster fill her in case anything should happen. Should God forbid anything happen, then maybe that will be the time the Buccaneers bring in a veteran free agent tight end off the streets to fill the void. However, now is not the time to panic and do so.
With the retirement of Gronk, it’s easy for people to automatically hit the panic button. However, should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers run a tight end by committee approach, with Tom Brady and the rest of this talented roster surrounding them, all should be well in Tampa Bay.