Most young players are hoping to make a move or two up the depth chart during offseason practices. Tim Wright made a move sideways.
On Wednesday, for the second practice of the Buccaneers' three-day mini-camp, the rookie from Rutgers came out with a new jersey, having traded in #18 for #81. The reason was significant – wide receivers can wear numbers in the 10-19 and 80-89 ranges, but tight ends aren't allowed to dip into the teens. They can either wear an 80 number or, if none are available, something in the 40s.
Yep, Tim Wright is now a tight end.
Wright was one of the 13 players the Buccaneers signed immediately after the conclusion of the 2013 NFL Draft, what is often called a "priority free agent." Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano obviously knew Wright well; Schiano was still the Scarlet Knights' head coach in 2010 when Wright turned in a great spring that had him named the program's "Most Improved Player." However, Wright suffered a knee injury before the season and had to miss all of 2010. He went on to catch 11 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns in 2011, Schiano's last year at Rutgers, then expanded that to 39-449-2 last year.
Of course, the more salient numbers regarding Wright at this moment are 6-4 and 220, his listed height and weight on the Bucs' official roster. That size can certainly play at tight end, though Wright might need to add a few pounds to that listed weight to be an effective blocker on the edge of the line.
The move didn't come out of the blue; Wright has seen some time in tight end drills in recent practices. By making the move official on Wednesday, though, the Bucs gave Wright a clear mission heading into training camp in late July. He'll get a chance to work at that position from Day One and potentially show enough to have a future with the franchise.
The Bucs had reduced their numbers at tight end by one the week before when they waived former USF player Evan Landi. Wright's conversion puts the number back up to six, which is a fairly typical number at the position heading into training camp. Last year, the Bucs began their camp with seven tight end hopefuls in the mix. Wright joins a group that already included Luke Stocker, Tom Crabtree, Nate Byham, Danny Noble and Zach Miller.