What To Expect From The Bucs TE Room Now

Now that Rob Gronkowski has retired the Bucs tight finish room simply received loads thinner. Gronkowski’s departure isn’t the one one from the Bucs 2021 tight finish group. 2017 first spherical draft choose OJ Howard additionally moved on in free company, signing a one-year cope with the Buffalo Payments. That leaves nine-year veteran Cam Brate and Cody McElroy because the lone holdovers from final yr.

Common supervisor Jason Licht has additionally tried to restock the cabinet by way of the draft this yr choosing Cade Otton out of Washington with the primary choice of the fourth spherical and Ko Kieft out of Minnesota within the sixth.

However what can we anticipate out of this group in 2022? How a lot of Gronkowski’s manufacturing will be replicated within the mixture by this group? Let’s check out a number of the numbers.

Much less Motion Round The Formation

Final yr Gronk was used all around the offensive formation per Professional Soccer Focus. Whereas he lined up in-line as a standard tight finish on 55.9 % of his snaps he was used as a slot receiver 123 occasions (28.7%) and even lined up out large 59 occasions (13.8%). This is because of Gronkowski’s means as a non-traditional weapon. Regardless of restricted velocity he was nonetheless a downfield menace who posed mis-match issues for nearly any defender on the sphere.

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Photograph by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs present crop of tight ends simply don’t have the identical bodily skillsets to create related mismatch points for defenses. And whereas Cam Brate was used within the slot over 40% of the time final yr, a lot of that was as a consequence of Gronkowski’s presence. With Otton lacking a lot of the offseason as a consequence of ankle surgical procedure, Brate goes to have to maneuver right into a extra in-line position limiting the Bucs use of tight ends within the slot in 2022.

Much less Targets

Gronkowski’s means as a high-end receiving menace meant he was used as a main goal fairly a bit. In 2021, Gronkowski was focused 86 occasions on 384 routes run. That works out to a goal on 22.4% of his routes. For comparability, Cameron Brate was focused simply 50 occasions on 319 routes (15.7%). Between Gronkowski, Brate, and Howard the Bucs tight ends ran 850 routes final yr and obtained 156 targets.

That works out to an 18.3% goal price. Search for the routes to cut back to someplace between 650-700 in 2022 because the Bucs focus much less on 12 personnel and extra on blocking when in that grouping. As for goal price I’d anticipate it to fall extra in the direction of 17%. That works out to 110-120 targets.

Much less Verticality

One of many issues that makes Gronkowski so distinctive amongst tight ends was his means to be a deep menace. Final yr alone his common depth of goal of 10.9 ranked second within the league amongst tight ends with a minimum of 50 targets.  The place did Cam Brate rank? thirteenth with an aDOT of seven.8. Gronkowski was a unicorn. And you may’t substitute unicorns simply.

A Step Again In Blocking

Final yr Gronkowski registered a PFF cross blocking grade in 9 of his 12 video games performed. In these 9 contests solely as soon as was his grade beneath a 65 (mid-sixties is taken into account to be barely above common in PFF’s grading scale). As a matter of truth, he had 5 video games the place his cross blocking grade was above a 70.  And throughout his profession Gronk’s cross block grade has been above a 65 in eight of his 11 years enjoying.  In the meantime, Brate posted a pass-blocking grade of 46.7 in 2021. And he has a grade over 65 in solely two of his eight seasons.

Bucs TEs Rob Gronkowski and Cam Brate

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

In the meantime, Otton is called a good blocker in school. I even famous it as a part of Pewter Report’s “Grinding the Tape” profile on him. And whereas I anticipate Otton to be a stable blocker on the NFL stage, there is no such thing as a manner anybody can or ought to anticipate him to be on the stage of Gronkowski in yr one. Identical goes for Kieft who was drafted singularly for his blocking prowess.

Shedding a Corridor-of-Famer whereas they’re nonetheless working at a excessive stage will damage any franchise. That is no completely different fort the Bucs tight finish room now that Gronkowski is asking it quits. 2021 noticed the Bucs tight finish room produce 157 targets that generated 100 catches for 1,182 yards and 11 touchdowns. Count on 2022 to be a step again to a way more modest line. My projections for the room are 120 targets for 80 catches that produce about 725 yards and 6-8 touchdowns.