Buccaneers taking wrong approach to biggest remaining need

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buccaneers absolutely need to address their tight end room without Rob Gronkowski. The unit as it currently exists is not good enough.

There has been a lot of discussion about Rob Gronkowski and the rest of the Buccaneers tight ends over the past week. In fact, this topic has been a hot discussion for most of the offseason, and unfortunately the discourse is far from where it needs to be.

The Bucs just went from being a team with one of the best tight end rooms in the league to a team with one of the worst almost overnight. Gronk was the tight end core for this Bucs team, and expecting anyone else currently on the roster to step up in a similar way is just being naive.

Cameron Brate is an excellent second option. He is a decent pass-catcher and red zone threat but he does fall short as a blocker. This isn’t too bad for a team that wants to throw more than it wants to run, but the Bucs would still be much better off with a complete player in the second role.

Unfortunately for Tampa, Brate is currently pegged to be the star in front of two rookies. That is not the tight end room of a Super Bowl contender, and the Bucs waiting to make any moves at the position as camp is approaching is a mistake.

Banking on these rookies to be anything more than worst case scenario players is silly. Cade Otton hasn’t been able to stay healthy for a while and Ko Kieft has fewer career catches than Otton has starts.

Pretending that these guys are anything more than fringe project players is failing to take off the pewter-colored glasses. This trio won’t cut it, and the Buccaneers need to move quickly on the free agent market to address the problem before they miss out on a guy that can actually start alongside Brate.

You want to bank on your rookies and depth guys stepping into starting roles, but you also have to be realistic about the situation too. Tampa needs to move much faster than it is.

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