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michael89156

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« : June 25, 2013, 12:06:37 AM »



Pewter Plank Mailbag: What is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Future at Tight End?


Jun 24th, 2013 at 6:25 pm

 by Leo Howell




 
Another day, another great question from a Bucs’ fan for the Pewter Plank Mailbag. Today’s inquiry comes from Rob on Facebook, who asks:
 

Who do think will be the starting offensive tight end? And do you think it will be considered an area of weakness for the Bucs that might make it the area they might want to consider for the first round of the draft next year and if so who would best fit as a Buccaneer coming out of college?
 
 
   Tight end was a position that a lot of mock drafters had going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and for good reason. The team’s best option at the position last season, Dallas Clark, does not appear to be returning, and the remaining options on the roster have all yet to prove themselves. And with a lack of reasonable options on the free agent market, the current options on the Bucs’ roster at tight end are likely to be the ones on the field week one against the New York Jets. So who is going to start?
 
Much like the backup running back position that I speculated about yesterday, I don’t think there is a solid answer to be had here. But that’s a cop-out answer, so let’s explore the players the Buccaneers have, and see who best fits what the team needs.
 




The plan in 2013 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is to be a run-first team with Doug Martin and company shouldering the load on offense. This comes with the expectation that the defense will keep the offense in the driver’s seat, and not allow the score to get out of hand. For that reason, the tight end who plays the most snaps will likely be the tight end who blocks the best, which is something we simply can’t know at the moment for certain. But based on pedigree and some scouting information, we can do our best to predict.
 
Luke Stocker is a physical force at the tight end position, checking in at 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing over 250 pounds, yet still showing a good amount of athletic ability for a man of his stature. He was also on the field fairly often for the Bucs in 2012, having almost as many snaps played as Dallas Clark. And while Clark was graded out as the worst run blocker on the team according to Pro Football Focus (Yes, even worse than Jamon Meredith, who was good as a pulling guard at times but struggled taking on a man face-to-face), Stocker was the best run blocker on the team that is not a former Pro Bowler as an offensive lineman (Donald Penn and Carl Nicks were the only players who did better blocking for the run, according to PFF).
 
So it would seem that Stocker is in line to have the lion’s share of snaps at tight end, because he fills an important need, but is not an entirely one-dimensional player. But he has company that may challenge him for playing time.
 
One of those competitors is Nate Byham, who was just shy of Stocker when it comes to run block grades from PFF despite playing considerably less than Stocker. Byham played just shy of 100 plays as a run blocker, and only 45 plays in the passing game, so it’s clear what his role is with the team. But that can be a useful trait for a player to have, as he knows his job and can execute it well. And should Stocker assume the role of Dallas Clark and take pass-catching snaps at tight end, it’s reasonable to think that Byham will take some of the snaps as a run blocker that Stocker has left behind. Byham is a candidate to be a breakout player, because he’s not very well-known, but he has obviously shown some positive game tape over the past year. But he could also fail to make the team if he’s usurped by…
 
 
 




Tom Crabtree, who is my personal favorite of the tight end bunch, but mainly for his hilarious Twitter account. Crabtree was a member of the Green Bay Packers, but was stuck behind Jermichael Finley, and sought out greener pastures in Tampa Bay.  But the news from Pro Football Focus isn’t positive about Crabtree’s run blocking, although this is a situation where pure grading systems like PFF’s might let us down. Crabtree graded negatively as a run blocker, but he was also a part of an offense that struggled to run the ball well on most occasions, and lined up next to an offensive line that didn’t feature a ton of help in the run blocking game. Crabtree did impress in the passing game, making some big plays when given the opportunity, but never getting  chance to take over for Finley.
 
That said, I think it’s clear that Stocker and Byham are both capable blockers, whereas Crabtree has question marks in that area. And with Stocker being more heavily invested in (being a fourth round draft choice), he’s almost certain to get the first chance to start. But should Crabtree prove to be a much better pass catcher, or should Byham step up and prove he’s capable in the passing game, the waters could be a lot muddier than they appear to be today.
 
As for the position being address via the draft next spring, I would expect that it will be a focus should none of the current crop of players stand out. But the question then becomes “What kind of tight end is Mike Sullivan looking for in his offense?” The best tight end in next year’s draft is Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but he’s currently suspended and is facing DUI charges, so he’s unlikely to be a target for the Buccaneers. According to Walter Football, the next best options are both tight ends of similar stature to Stocker, but who may feature a bit more athletic ability and provide a bigger threat in the passing game. You can check out their profiles on Walter’s website, here. So there are options, and depending on the Bucs’ willingness to take a chance on Seferian-Jenkins, they will have their choice of tight ends in the first few rounds who provide an interesting option as a pass catching tight end in this offensive system.




http://thepewterplank.com/2013/06/24/pewter-plank-mailbag-what-is-the-tampa-bay-buccaneers-future-at-tight-end/





The Anti-Java

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« #1 : June 25, 2013, 02:43:14 AM »

Hopefully Stocker pans out.  I guess they could bring Clark back, if none of those guys look good. I like Stocker, but he seems a bit fragile.

New England may pick up Clark, with all that Hernandez stuff going on.  And Gronk has so many surgeries scheduled, you can't keep track.


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« #2 : June 25, 2013, 06:32:58 AM »

Not sure I agree entirely with the last paragraph.
Colt Lyerla is an insane athlete and on paper a rich man's Aaron Hernandez.

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« #3 : June 25, 2013, 08:16:21 AM »

This is a position in question but I'd opt to upgrade the RB position first.

Spider 2 Y Banana

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« #4 : June 25, 2013, 08:22:44 AM »

This is a position in question but I'd opt to upgrade the RB position first.

I know right?  Its so annoying only having 1 pro bowler in the backfield.

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« #5 : June 25, 2013, 08:33:54 AM »

The tight end position is full of mediocrity. This was a pretty good draft for TEs, so I was bummed we couldn't grab a good prospect this year. Hopefully we find a good one in next year's draft. Until then, we'll just have to get by on mediocrity.

Draft Aaron Donald



yuccaneers

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« #6 : June 25, 2013, 08:44:20 AM »

Seeing as tight end is not a focal point of the offense. Now granted having an elite player manning the position would undoubtedly open up the entire offense even more. Other then Gonzalez none of the other top tight ends in the league were first round draft picks. Its a position that one can find quality from rounds 2 through 4. And when you realize that based on the Bucs current scheme its the third or fourth option on many passing plays spending high draft picks or mega money on the position is unwarranted and to a degree a tad foolish.

As for Colt Lyerla, he has red flags off the field that could cause him to slip.

In Football, RESPECT is never given freely by your opponent. It must be TAKEN from them...VIOLENTLY

Great players cost a lot of money but help win games. High-priced players - a byproduct of poorly run front offices with bad scouting departments - only cost a lot of money.
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
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JDouble

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« #7 : June 25, 2013, 08:58:29 AM »

Seeing as tight end is not a focal point of the offense....


Dallas Clark had more 3rd down targets than anyone else on our roster last year. Seems pretty important to me. Maybe it isn't a focal point because we don't have any talent there? I'm pretty sure if Stocker, Noble, or Crabtree stepped up and suddenly started playing lights out....TE would become a focal point of this offense very quickly.
« : June 25, 2013, 09:02:22 AM JDouble »

Draft Aaron Donald



yuccaneers

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« #8 : June 25, 2013, 09:05:38 AM »

JDub - I think that had more to do with the team not having a reliable slot / 3rd receiver.

In Football, RESPECT is never given freely by your opponent. It must be TAKEN from them...VIOLENTLY

Great players cost a lot of money but help win games. High-priced players - a byproduct of poorly run front offices with bad scouting departments - only cost a lot of money.
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
Oliver Goldsmith

JDouble

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« #9 : June 25, 2013, 09:34:05 AM »

So nothing has changed....

Draft Aaron Donald



yuccaneers

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« #10 : June 25, 2013, 09:48:17 AM »

What I think has changed is that the team will now use Williams in the slot more this coming season along with Jackson and Olgetree. The difference last year was the team only had Jackson as a capable and reliable option in the slot.  Since the offensive system has no set formations Williams ability to learn the slot this off-season and Olgetree's ability to play the slot now gives the team more flexibility when calling plays.

This will help the offense disguise it true intentions and not allow opposing defenses to key on the slot as a tell of what the team is doing. Becuase now the team has three interchangeable players who can all play the slot or outside.
« : June 25, 2013, 09:52:32 AM yuccaneers »

In Football, RESPECT is never given freely by your opponent. It must be TAKEN from them...VIOLENTLY

Great players cost a lot of money but help win games. High-priced players - a byproduct of poorly run front offices with bad scouting departments - only cost a lot of money.
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
Oliver Goldsmith

Pepsi

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« #11 : June 25, 2013, 09:51:28 AM »

The tight end position is full of mediocrity. This was a pretty good draft for TEs, so I was bummed we couldn't grab a good prospect this year. Hopefully we find a good one in next year's draft. Until then, we'll just have to get by on mediocrity.

I'll be surprised if anyone besides Eifert makes a name for themselves in the NFL.



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« #12 : June 25, 2013, 09:59:17 AM »

One of the weakest positions on the team. Unless someone really steps it up it will be less of a focal point this year than last. You don't game plan around weak positions and our opponents are not spending any time game planning around our TE position.  It needs to be fixed at some point.  I think as of right now the Bucs would love to have Clark as an option but it's like I said a couple months ago he's not coming back, he doesn't want to be here.

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« #13 : June 25, 2013, 11:21:14 AM »

Jimmy Graham and Jermichael Finley will be FA's next year IIRC. It would epic to steal Graham from the Saints. V Jax, Williams, Graham, Martin, that would be insane.

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« #14 : June 25, 2013, 11:45:01 AM »

     It's interesting how most folks here seem to be judging TE quality on ability to run routes and catch passes, and ignoring blocking for the run game. The blocking of the TE(s) and FB are often the difference between a long run by the RB or a short gain. Schiano often lamented how close Doug was to breaking for a big gain, but someone didn't execute their block. Blocking by the TE is just as important as catching the football...
     I think Ogletree will make a big difference in our offense. He is a legit WR, and gives us that 3rd downfield option, allowing Stocker/Byham to stay around the LOS to create the threat of a run by the Douginator...  Gonna be a competitive TC this year!!
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