Here We Go Again

February 16th, 2022

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The Bucs have an interesting history when it comes to drafting tight ends.

They stink at it.

Since their inaugural draft haul in 1976, Tampa Bay has selected 23 tight ends. The only one to make a Pro Bowl? Try Dave Moore, who earned a spot on the 2006 Pro Bowl team — as a long snapper.

Moore now serves as the insightful radio analyst for the Bucs, working alongside Gene Deckerhoff.

Well, here we go again. It’s time for the Bucs to think seriously about using a premium pick on a tight end.

Free agent Rob Gronkowski turns 33 in May and there’s a strong chance he’ll be joining Tom Brady in retirement. Cameron Brate will be 31 in July and has averaged only 17 receiving yards per game in the past four years. In 2021, Brate caught only 53 percent of the passes sent his way.

Free agent O.J. Howard, the apple of Dirk Koetter’s eye in 2017, has given the Bucs little reason to make him a serious offer to return this fall.

Sage Ira Kaufman dives into the Bucs’ odd history with tight ends.

Before Howard, there was Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round choice who is now out of the league at the age of 29 after a series of DUI arrests.

A Day 2 Decision?

Yes, when it comes to the 2022 draft, the tight end position should loom as a high priority.

That’s not to suggest Tampa Bay would be wise to use a first-round pick on the position because this is not a particularly good year for tight end prospects. There’s a decent chance no tight end will be selected in the opening round for the second time in three years.

But if you’re looking for the next Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews, Colorado State’s Trey McBride could be available in Round 2. He caught 90 passes for 1,125 yards last season and won the John Mackey Award. In the final snap of his collegiate career, McBride ran 69 yards for a TD against Nevada off a fake punt.

Other possibilities include Jalen Wydermeyer of Texas A&M and Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar, who dropped only two passes while hauling in 63 receptions.

The best tight ends in Buc history were acquired in trades.

Ring of Honor recipient Jimmie Giles was obtained from Houston in a 1978 deal that saw the Bucs deal the No. 1 overall pick, which turned out to be Earl Campbell. Giles did his part, earning four Pro Bowl berths with the Bucs while quickly developing a dynamic rapport with Doug Williams.

Tampa Bay sent a fourth-round pick to New England for Gronkowski a month after signing Brady as a free agent in the spring of 2020. In Tampa, Brady and Gronkowski continued their magical connection, but the triggerman in this partnership is now focused on family and his many business interests.

Better Decisions

While the Bucs can’t seem to get it right when drafting tight ends or quarterbacks, the franchise has had substantial success at other positions.

20212 first-round pick Doug Martin

At running back, Tampa Bay has selected Ricky Bell, James Wilder, Mike Alstott, Warrick Dunn, Cadillac Williams and Doug Martin. The list of quality linebackers drafted by the Bucs starts with Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, but it doesn’t end there. David Lewis, Hugh Green, Lavonte David and Devin White have been playmakers as well.

Hall of Fame safety John Lynch heads the defensive backfield, but leave room for Rondé Barber, Brian Kelly, Aqib Talib, Carlton Davis, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Jordan Whitehead.

Even in the unlikely event Gronkowski re-signs with the Bucs, this team needs a young tight end to develop. Howard was supposed to be that guy. He was chosen 19th overall in 2017, 11 picks before the Steelers took an outside linebacker out of Wisconsin.

Since entering the league, T.J. Watt has averaged 14 sacks per season.

Howard has averaged 29o yards and three TDs.

Jason Licht has a lot on his plate in the next month, forging a smart plan for free agency. He’s got five starters on either side of the ball with the potential to test the marketplace and only one franchise tag to apply.

Tampa Bay scouts are sharpening up their evaluations on the top prospects in the draft. Pay special attention to the reports stamped “Tight End.”

Those are keepers.

Ira talks about this year’s Hall of Fame vote in a new TAMPA TWO with Derrick Brooks. Another great production from The Identity Tampa Bay and Joe.

25 Responses to “Here We Go Again”

  1. Bruce Blahak Says:

    McBride or Jake Ferguson later round…

  2. AtlBuc Says:

    They will be keeping OJ

  3. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Dont be so sure Gronk is gone, because unlike Brady, he needs the money.
    Brate has to go, and so does OJ Howard.

  4. mike Says:

    Best Tight End we ever drafted was Harold Bishop out of LSU in the 1994 nfl ( thanks again Sam wych). We traded him a year later for a draft pick (Alstot)

  5. BucFanFromOH Says:

    It’s the year 20212 and Tampa uses their first-round pick on familiar name, Doug Martin.

  6. Cho Says:

    McBride Round 2-3. Next Gronk.

  7. jvato24 Says:

    Gronk needs the money?? 😆 pretty funny, he is on probably 3 or 4 national commercials, I’m willing to bet he makes more in endorsements than NFL paychecks

  8. allbuccedup Says:

    Tight end no earlier than 5th round sign Hayden Hurst for 2 mil better than Brate.

  9. Marine Buc Says:

    Round 1 – WR
    Round 2 – CB
    Round 3 – IDL
    Round 4 – TE
    Round 5 – Punter
    Round 7 – Safety

  10. Mikejp Says:

    Reseach shows that you should not draft TEs because the success rate is the worst among all positions.

  11. Hoops Says:

    Brate had very few drops on balls that were actually catchable. Remember seeing passes over his head. They call it a target if it’s somewhere near the player. That doesn’t mean it’s a drop.

  12. Bucsfanman Says:

    WOW! There’s a “nugget” for you. The pick we sent to Houston for Jimmie Giles was what Houston used for Earl Campbell!!!

    Watching Earl run over people is pure Fanman therapy!

  13. Bucs Guy Says:

    Need to draft a TE on day 3 (rd 5) and possible blocking TE as UFA. There seems to always be a “good” TE FA available every year.
    1st rd – DE
    2nd rd – DT
    3rd rd – WR
    4th rd C/G
    5th rd – TE
    7th rd – CB

  14. Swampbuc Says:

    Can we draft a defensive coordinator?

  15. SlyPirate Says:

    Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State, Round 3-4.

  16. Teddy Says:

    Bucs need to get Mike Gesicki at Tight End from the Dolphins. He is 6’6” like Gronk, had 800 yds last year like Gronk, drafted 42nd overall like Gronk, but is faster, 8 years younger and a free agent.

  17. Joe Says:

    Bucs need to get Mike Gesicki at Tight End

    Interesting. Apply Gronk’s salary to his offer? Not much of a blocker but strong receiver.

  18. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    So stick with what you are good at and draft RB Breece Hall of Iowa State. Breece is ready to run and catch on Day 1 of camp.

  19. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Talk about “old school” football! I remember Earl Campbell too, Bucsfanman.

    For you youngsters out there, the Houston Oilers’ coach, Bum Phillips, literally put the team on Earl’s shoulders and rode him to three AFC playoffs. They had no Super Bowl appearances, however. In the long run this might tell us something about why RBs are devalued in today’s NFL.

  20. Ed Says:

    What makes Gronk so good is how fearless he is catching the ball with contact and how he can outfight for the ball. His speed isn’t what it used to be but he will still be productive one more season as long as there is a QB that can get the ball out on time.

    You really could see the precision routes that Gronk and Brown ran vs Evans and Godwin. Godwin is better route runner than Evans and Evans is better deep ballers but Gronk and Brown were absolutely tuned in to Brady’s radar.

  21. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Draft another Iowa OL

  22. gotbbucs Says:

    Don’t draft any more TE’s early. Free agency is always loaded with serviceable TE’s.

  23. Oneilbuc Says:

    The tight end from Colorado Sate will be a good pick in the second or third round!!

  24. Gerinda Says:

    Forget about Gronk, hes making the team and fans wait this long to decided what hes going to do, I believe he already made that decision, he just being quite about it, with Brady, that ain’t cool, Buccaneers need to make that decisions because Brady and Gronk they seems to be waiting for the bucs to let them go? They are done with the Bucs, Gronk wants to play with Burrows, and Brady waiting to be let go to a other team, he said wait in 6 months? He’s not retired!

  25. Buczilla Says:

    The top tight ends won’t be there with our second round pick. Maybe we can find some sucker to give us a higher number two and their three in exchange for our one?