Though the Buccaneers spent a second-round draft pick on Austin Seferian-Jenkins two years ago, HC Dirk Koetter isn’t ready to hand the oft-injured University of Washington product a starter’s job just yet. Cameron Brate is the reason.
A two-time All-Ivy League first-teamer, Brate slowly emerged as one of Winston’s go-to targets last year, eventually finishing his second full season in the NFL with 23 catches (two more than Seferian-Jenkins) for 288 yards and three touchdowns.
That has Koetter thinking he may have a better option at the pass-catching tight end spot than Seferian-Jenkins, who first has to prove he can stay healthy and then may have to prove he’s got a better connection with quarterback Jameis Winston than Brate.
“Yeah, we talk a lot about chemistry, because you never know how or why certain guys connect, but Jameis and Cam, they really connected last year,’’ Koetter said.
“They had a real good feel for each other in the red zone and on seam routes and just all over the field really. And Cam, well, he really made the most of his opportunities.’’
ASJ will likely start for the Bucs this year, but the takeaway here is that it's no sure thing, so early drafters should pick accordingly.