Normally when a football team spends a Top 20 pick at a position it means they aren’t happy with the current starter. First round picks rarely sit the bench and new Bucs tight end O.J.Howard will be on the field this fall more often than not.

But the Bucs organization is far from unhappy with 2016 starter Cam Brate, and there is no animosity from the Ivy League standout who said recently the addition of Howard doesn’t affect his job.

“Not really. I kind of just try to focus on myself, but it’s been awesome having O.J. in the tight end room and out on the field with us,” Brate said. “He brings a lot to the table, a lot to our offense. He is doing an unbelievable job of picking up on everything. You guys see him out there. He is making plays every day. So, it’s been a lot of fun playing with him.”

TE Cameron Brate – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Brate who emerged as one of the better tight ends in the league last season after recording 57 catches for 660 yards and eight touchdowns, says he and Howard are already bonding.

“It’s a strong relationship, probably one word is strong,” Brate said. “I try to help him out. Any time you come into a new offensive system, there is new terminology, small nuances in the offense that are hard to pick up on. So, me and Luke [Stocker] have been trying to take him under our wing I guess you would say and kind of helping him with that stuff. He’s done a great job, he’s always staying after, asking us questions and he’s been a great teammate so far.”

After going from undrafted rookie out of Harvard in 2014, to an NFL starter, Brate said each year he feels more and more comfortable, partly because of his quarterback.

“Yeah, I mean, it helps to be confident,” Brate said. “Obviously, kind of with the year I was able to have last year, just looking to kind of build off of that and use what I learned last year, the successes and the failures, learn from those too. So, I think collectively as an offense, we’re all playing pretty confidently. It starts with Jameis [Winston]. He does a great job inspiring us every day. I think overall as an offense, we all play with a lot of confidence.”


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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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5 years ago

This team is a team; each veteran player tries to help the rookies whether they have played for other teams in the past or not. Great feeling that there isn’t as much expectations that a highly drafted pick has to start or perform at an All Pro level from the get go. It does take time for some players to fit in to a new system. I learned that lesson when I criticized McCoy and Stocker in year one and two in their earlier years. Go Bucs! We’re competitive now to make the Playoffs!

5 years ago

Having a legitimate two TE offense is going to be amazing. Especially when both are a threat to catch the ball and Howard being a great blocker will add another dimension. The Defense will have to cover him, and Brate should be able to get freed up even more. But clearly Howard will be a receiving threat so it is like getting another big tall fast receiver and a blocker with one pick. We have strengthened our receiving corps and added a blocker with one pick.

5 years ago

Cameron Brate has been such a great find for Jason Licht and the scouting staff. In spite of Brate’s success, O.J. Howard was the player I most coveted in this past Draft. I never thought he’d get past the top ten. Thankfully desperate teams reached for the QB’s. Looking forward to seeing them both giving defensive coordinators fits.