Kyle Rudolph may not be the TE1 for the Buccaneers for the majority of the season, but his stats could very well look like that.
As much as the dreamers may try to say otherwise, the Buccaneers tight end room is just mediocre for right now.
The loss of Rob Gronkowski stings. Cameron Brate and Kyle Rudolph are mediocre but nothing crazy. The rookies are generally expected to be non-factors in their first year.
This room is far from bad, but it also isn’t close to being one of the best in the league like it was last year.
Still, Rudolph and Brate should be average to above average in this offense, and that is all the Buccaneers need in a passing attack that will rely on Tom Brady and the receivers more than anything.
As the year starts out, it makes sense to assume that Brate will get more of the reps than Rudolph based on his time in the offense, but the actual production may not follow the usage numbers.
Kyle Rudolph is in an excellent position to post more yards and touchdowns than Brate during the 2022 season.
It may be easy for some Bucs fans to put on the pewter-colored glasses and talk up longtime Bucs like Brate and look down on guys like Rudolph that are coming off of a bad season with one of the worst teams in the league, but this is disingenuous.
Rudolph is going into one of the best situations of his career, while Brate’s situation is taking a step back.
The newer tight end is leaving one of the worst receiving corps/coach/quarterback combinations in the NFL and joining one of the best. This is going to put Rudolph in new positions to get open against lesser competition, something that will pay out almost immediately in this high-powered, pass-first offense.
Brate isn’t bad, but he has been mediocre for the vast majority of his career. Rudolph has been somewhere near that for some stretches and then moved past that to being one of the best at his position for stretches as well, meaning this competition should be wide open.
The talent is there, and Rudolph is going to let it all shine through as the best tight end on the Buccaneers in 2022.
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