Pictures of the Buccaneers' tight ends.
The Buccaneers didn't bring back Brandon Myers, a solid all-around tight end, but are still heading into 2017 in much better shape at the position than a year ago. That's what happens when, for the first time in team history, you use a first-round pick on a potential star tight end.
That would be O.J. Howard, who happily slipped to the Buccaneers at number 19 in late April. Even with the rising Cameron Brate and his 57 catches in 2016 on hand, Licht and Koetter jumped at the chance to add the dynamic Alabama tight end to Jameis Winston's stable of weapons. Even better, they still managed to add intriguing Canadian prospect Antony Auclair – a player they were considering taking in the late rounds before Howard fell to them – as an undrafted free agent.
The veteran leader of the group is Luke Stocker, and he's back for a seventh year with the team thanks to his above-average blocking ability. Howard is already considered a strong blocker, so the Buccaneers can employ many different two-TE combinations with the rookie, Brate and Stocker.
As much as the Bucs like Auclair, he won't have an easy time rising above the team's tight end depth to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. Alan Cross, who did just that last year, is back and is a good pass-catching option as well as a player that can be moved all over the formation. Tevin Westbrook has been on and off the Bucs' roster and practice squad for two years and definitely has good size for the position. He could finally make the leap to the next level.