’s 2022 Draft Preview + Bucs Best Bets: TEs analyzes the highest gamers within the 2022 NFL Draft with its’ place previews. Matt Matera retains issues rolling by previewing the tight finish place, with a complete have a look at what the Bucs have and what they want at tight finish. Matera additionally offers an in depth record of this yr’s high tight ends. As well as, Scott Reynolds affords up the group wants and the annual Bucs’ Greatest Bets – the most definitely tight finish for the Bucs to pick out in Rounds 1-3, and in Rounds 4-7.

What The Bucs Have At Tight Finish

Bucs TEs Rob Gronkowski and Cam Brate – Photograph: Cliff Welch/PR

Tight finish may be the most important want in Tampa Bay as a result of present state of the depth chart. The Bucs have simply two tight ends on the roster in veteran Cameron Brate and Codey McElroy. Brate has been a giant contributor and part-time starter for years, however turns 31 in July. His play has been on the decline the final couple of years and the group wants a youth motion on the place, particularly after transferring on from O.J. Howard. McElroy is 29 and has spent years on the observe squad creating. However what’s his ceiling – TE3?

After all the Bucs would like to re-sign starter Rob Gronkowski, however he stays uncommitted to enjoying soccer proper now. If he returns in 2022 it will be to Tampa Bay for an additional season with Tom Brady. However at age 33, Gronkowski may not be re-signed till after the draft. He’s busy making ready for his massive Gronk Seaside social gathering in Las Vegas throughout draft weekend. Gronkowski possible needs to skip OTAs, so if he does return he might signal with the Bucs in time for the necessary mini-camp in June or coaching camp in late July after some extra time without work.

What The Bucs Want At Tight Finish

The Bucs have a giant want at tight finish. Not only for one other physique or two to fill out the depth chart, but additionally for a future starter as soon as Gronkowski retires or strikes on in 2023. There are a number of high quality tight ends on this yr’s draft, however largely gamers that might be preferrred No. 2 tight ends. Colorado State’s Trey McBride has the very best likelihood of changing into a legit beginning caliber tight finish. The Bucs have proven a number of critical curiosity in him within the pre-draft course of.

It wouldn’t be far-fetched to see Tampa Bay truly draft a decent finish early after which use considered one of its two seventh-rounders on one other one. There are an honest quantity of attention-grabbing Day 3 prospects that might be added for depth to compete with McElroy. If Gronkowski and Brate are gone after 2023 and McElroy doesn’t pan out, the Bucs would as many as three extra tight ends to fill out the depth chart subsequent yr. Why not begin that course of early and group two rookies with Gronkowski and Brate for a yr?

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Prime Tight Ends In 2022 NFL Draft

*Essential Word: These gamers are NOT listed within the order of Pewter Report’s rating for them. Moderately, the numbers are supplied to indicate you the tough order by which we anticipate them to return off the board throughout the draft.

1. Colorado State TE Trey McBride – Senior – 6-4, 246, 4.56

Colorado State TE Trey McBride

Colorado State TE Trey McBride – Photograph by: USA Right now

Relying on who you ask, McBride is the very best all-around tight finish of this group. Coming from a smaller college in Colorado State, he’s benefitted from performing properly at each the Senior Bowl and NFL Mix. McBride got here from a really run-heavy offense, so you already know he’s keen to get a hat on a hat and achieve the job. His willingness to dam, and block impactfully comes as a optimistic to any group, particularly the Bucs. He solely had one landing in his final yr of faculty soccer, which might alarm some. However I’d chalk that as much as the offense he was enjoying in. McBride received the John Mackey award because the nation’s most excellent tight finish.

McBride confirmed his receiving prowess with an incredible week of observe on the Senior Bowl. He matched his manufacturing of landing receptions by scoring within the recreation. Additionally, McBride was close to the highest of all tight ends with a 4.56 within the 40-yard sprint. McBride has nice instincts as a participant, which is why he nonetheless performed particular groups at the same time as a senior. He’s a dependable blocker and really able to making powerful catches as properly. McBride had 90 receptions for 1,121 yards and a rating final season.

2. UCLA TE Greg Dulcich – RS Junior – 6-4, 243, 4.69

So far as receiving tight ends go, Dulcich is the very best of the group. He’s as athletic as they get, with good velocity happening the sphere. I get pleasure from watching him make defenders miss as soon as he has the ball. Dulcich has a really sizable catch radius and could be a risk within the passing recreation. He was a two yr starter for UCLA, the place he excelled as a go catcher.

The issue is – regardless of his lengthy arms, he doesn’t have a big body. This hurts him as a blocker the place he’s thought-about shaky at finest. There’s no energy there to carry off defenders. If he might enhance as a blocker in any respect, Dulcich might make a case as the very best tight finish on the board. He caught 68 passes for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns within the two seasons he was a starter. Dulcich was first-team All Pac-12 as a redshirt junior final yr.

3. Washington TE Cade Otton – RS – 6-5, 247, DNP

Jason Licht has a historical past of drafting Washington gamers at line of defense. Would he do it on the opposite aspect of the ball? Otton has an old-fashioned look to him since he doesn’t put on any gloves. He’s a gradual blocker who’s environment friendly taking over a defender. However he might want to improve his footwork. Otton isn’t a foul receiver by any means, however isn’t essentially the most athletic. He might use a bit extra work on his route operating. Otton is ready to modify comfortably to make receptions away from his physique. On high of that, he carried out properly making vital third and fourth down receptions. You’ll all the time need somebody you may depend on for that.

He began all 4 years for the Huskies. As a sophomore, he had his finest statistical yr by recording 334 yards on 32 catches and two touchdowns. His finest yr got here a season later, regardless of solely having 4 video games resulting from a COVID season in 2020. Otton made essentially the most of it by racking up 258 yards with 18 receptions and three touchdowns. The 14.3 yards per reception was the best of his profession. The following yr wasn’t as a lot of a hit, as he recorded simply 250 yards on 28 catches and a landing in eight video games. It’s stunning that he had eight much less yards in double the contests. Otton additionally missed two video games that yr after occurring the COVID record, and one other two from a foot damage.

Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert NFL Draft Bucs

Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert – Photograph Credit score: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports activities

4. Ohio State TE Jeremy Ruckert – Senior – 6-5, 252, DNP

Ruckert is the hardest participant to determine as a result of quantity of years as a starter, restricted manufacturing and the expertise round him. Ruckert began for less than a season at Ohio State. He was the primary ranked participant popping out of Lengthy Island, New York. Then, of the whole nation, he was second amongst all tight ends. Ruckert obtained his reps as a senior beginning in 11 video games and enjoying in 13 of them. Due to the extraordinarily gifted Buckeyes’ roster, he was extra of a fourth possibility. He caught 26 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns.

It looks like there’s much more meat left on the bone for Ruckert. He will get actual bodily on the line of scrimmage and exhibits a willingness to do it. Don’t overlook his receiving expertise both if he turns into extra of a focus. He’s faster than you assume and might make the vital catches in tight spots. Ruckert has stable hand-eye coordination to go together with good dimension and energy.

5. Virginia TE Jelani Woods – Senior – 6-7, 253, 4.61

The peak and size stand out first if you’re speaking about Woods. However he additionally led all tight ends within the bench press on the NFL Mix with 24 reps. Woods is a former highschool quarterback that was primarily a blocking tight finish at Oklahoma State. He then transferred to Virginia as a senior, the place he began forming as a receiver. There’s nonetheless a number of uncooked expertise with him. His dimension makes him a succesful blocker and he’s good with the ball in his arms.

So far as route operating, there’s much more to go. Woods continues to be new on the place and desires to select up on issues. In his finest yr as a receiver, he put collectively 598 yards on 44 catches and 12 touchdowns. He produced extra that season than his different three earlier years mixed. It could be intriguing to have the Bucs check out Woods as a participant that might proceed to develop and work with.

Iowa State TE Charlie Kolar Bucs

Iowa State TE Charlie Kolar – Photograph Credit score: The Des Moines Register

6. Iowa State TE Charlie Kolar – RS Senior – 6-6, 252, 4.62

I like Kolar’s recreation as a receiver. I assumed he carried out properly on the Senior Bowl simply behind McBride out of all tight ends. Kolar makes the vital contested catches and might win one-on-one towards defenders.

He’s not essentially the most athletic, however has stable ball expertise. He didn’t run on the Mix, nevertheless his 4.62 Professional Day 40-time would have tied him for third amongst tight ends. Kolar actually wants to enhance as a blocker. He can line up within the slot to contribute on offense as properly.

7. Wisconsin TE Jake Ferguson – RS Senior – 6-5, 250, 4.81

Ferguson is extra of a block first sort of tight finish. He’s the grandson of former Wisconsin head coach and athletic director, Barry Alvarez, a legendary determine at Wisconsin. An aggressive blocker, Ferguson is bodily from the get-go. He stays on his defender and is highly effective within the run recreation. He has the appropriate thoughts for it on the subsequent stage. Ferguson might help out within the go recreation together with his certain handedness.

You may not see an excessive amount of athleticism, however he could make powerful catches. By means of 4 years, Ferguson recorded 145 receptions, 1,618 yards and 13 touchdowns. I can see Ferguson touchdown as a day three choose to the Bucs and serving to in a small position to fill out the depth chart.

8. San Diego State TE Daniel Bellinger – Senior – 6-5, 253, 4.63

Stable blocking combined with common receiving expertise is what you’ll get from Bellinger. Whereas missing explosiveness, Bellinger is in a position bodied sufficient to get open and make some performs on intermediate routes. He’s good on the level of assault when blocking, although he wants to enhance on approach. Bellinger accrued 771 receiving yards on 68 catches and 5 scores.

He continued a pleasant senior yr at San Diego State by making performs on the Senior Bowl and successful offensive observe participant of the week honors for the American group. Bellinger continues to be younger at age 21 and confirmed maturity as a group captain. He’d be an excellent addition to locker room morale. 
beef o bradys Bucs

Greatest Of The Relaxation

9. Virginia Tech TE James Mitchell – Senior – 6-4, 249 – DNP

A former highschool basketball participant, Mitchell used that enjoying expertise to have above common physique management as a decent finish. He can be utilized in many alternative methods on offense due to his athleticism. Sadly, Mitchell suffered a torn ACL early within the season, forcing him to play in solely two video games. He had loads of indicators of continued enchancment as a sophomore and junior, averaging over 400 yards and over 21 receptions that yr. That features six touchdowns.

Mitchell wants to scrub up a number of areas together with his blocking. On the finish of the day, lots will depend upon how he recovers this offseason. He was a group captain for the Hokies, displaying he has management qualities. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Mitchell going within the fourth or fifth spherical in his “The Beast” NFL Draft information projections.

10. Coastal Carolina TE Isaiah Probably – Senior – 6-4, 245, 4.82

Probably began his school profession off properly by main the group in touchdowns as a freshman with 5. He obtained incrementally higher every season, capping a senior yr off with 59 receptions for 912 yards and 12 touchdowns. Probably has a number of athleticism and a propensity to attain. A kind of scoring performs included a 99-yard landing.

I additionally get pleasure from his capability to go up and monitor the ball. He could make performs for you, however must bulk up and play extra bodily if he needs to be constant. Probably is a two-time All-Solar Belt recipient, a finalist for the John Mackey award and second-team All-American. However small and gradual is a foul mixture for a decent finish who can’t block. Probably’s 4.82 professional day 40 time might have him falling down boards on draft day.

11. Nevada TE Cole Turner – Senior – 6-6, 249 – 4.76

Turner has nice dimension and catching capability. He’s higher off lining up off of the road of scrimmage. Leverage has been a problem due to his dimension, and he’s not going to get by most defenders with any sort of velocity or route-running capability. Turner can win battles as a receiver. It’s the blocking half that received’t assist him play. I didn’t see a lot from him on the Senior Bowl both.

Turner was in a position to get two years of beginning expertise with Nevada. In that point he scored 19 touchdowns, caught 111 passes and had 1,282 yards.

12. Maryland TE Chigozeim Okonkwo – Senior – 6-2, 238, 4.52

Okonkwo has potential as a receiver, however must choose it up as a blocker. He was the quickest of the tight ends within the 40, operating at 4.52 on the Mix. Okonkwo additionally confirmed nice vertical capability as an possibility within the passing recreation. He’ll want so as to add extra dimension to his body if he needs to carry his personal as a blocker.

Okonkwo is aware of how one can persevere as properly. Following a stat line of 19 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns in 2019, he missed all of 2020 with a medical damage. Throughout his senior yr in 2021, Oknokwo bounced again by doubling his manufacturing and placing collectively 447 yards on 52 catches and 5 scores.

13. Nebraska TE Austin Allen – RS Senior – 6-8, 253, 4.83

Allen is one other tight finish with an enormous body. The scale pops out at you first, so there’s hope that he can progress into a greater blocker. For the time being, pad stage has been a problem. Allen isn’t the quickest transferring participant on the sphere, however he has sufficient acceleration to contribute on a roster.

Allen performed all 4 years and was a starter for 3 of them at Nebraska. He compiled 65 catches, 975 receiving yards and three touchdowns. As a senior, his accolades included getting named group captain and successful Massive Ten tight finish of the yr. He left his stamp on the Cornhuskers’ historical past books with 602 yards, essentially the most ever in a season from a decent finish.

Bucs’ Greatest Bets: Tight Ends

Bucs’ Greatest Guess – Rounds 1-3: Colorado State TE Trey McBride

Colorado State TE Trey McBride Bucs

Colorado State TE Trey McBride – Photograph by: USA Right now

The Bucs love McBride. The group did a proper interview with him on the NFL Scouting Mix and had him in for a Prime 30 go to. And what’s to not love? McBride led all tight ends with 90 catches for 1,121 yards and a landing final yr. He earned the John Mackey Award because the nation’s high tight finish. Then he completed off his collegiate profession with one other landing within the Senior Bowl. McBride completed his 4 years with the Rams with 164 catches for two,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 246-pounder is among the quickest and most athletic tight ends on this yr’s draft with a 4.56 time within the 40-yard sprint. That velocity confirmed up in eight video games by which posted 100 yards receiving or extra.

McBride can be an efficient and tenacious blocker within the run recreation. His critical, no-nonsense love of soccer and humble, hard-working Midwestern perspective made him a two-time group captain. He’s undoubtedly a Tampa Bay goal within the second spherical, and don’t rule out the Bucs taking him late within the first spherical, both. McBride can be a big-time contributor as a rookie and the perfect candidate to switch Rob Gronkowski because the starter in 2023.

Bucs’ Greatest Guess – Rounds 4-7: Washington TE Cade Otton

Washington TE Cade Otton

Washington TE Cade Otton – Photograph Credit score: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports activities

NFL scouts have combined evaluations on Otton, as he’s projected to be drafted wherever from the second to the fourth spherical. Some groups view him because the second-best tight finish after McBride, whereas different groups possible have him someplace between No. 5-10 on their draft boards. Otton is a big-bodied tight finish with a 6-foot-5, 247-pound body. He has good, however not nice arms, and good, however not nice velocity. Otton is coming off ankle surgical procedure from final November and wasn’t in a position to run for scouts this offseason. The tape exhibits a participant that has sufficient velocity to create some separation, however not sufficient velocity to get yards after the catch.

Otton caught 91 passes for 1,026 yards (11.3 avg.) and 9 touchdowns in his 4 years at Washington. He’s an honest in-line blocker, however wins extra with physique positioning than with brute power or energy within the run recreation. The Bucs had him in for a Prime 30 go to previous to the draft. Both he or Jelani Woods might be a fall-back possibility in case Tampa Bay misses out on McBride. Otton might be drafted within the third spherical, however his lack of elite instruments makes him a greater worth within the fourth spherical if he’s nonetheless out there.

Take a look at Tuesday’s episode of the Pewter Report podcast the place Jon Ledyard, JC Allen and Matt Matera went in-depth on the tight finish draft class. We mentioned which participant the very best match for the Bucs and what spherical is the appropriate time to select for a possible future starter.


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