After finishing 2-14 with one of the league’s worst offenses, the Buccaneers replaced interim OC Marcus Arroyo with a proven NFL offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter, and the one player who could benefit the most is Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is expected to be featured in Tampa Bay’s new offense.
The Bucs are so high on Seferian-Jenkins that he’s expected to be the starter in 2015 and the team did not go out in free agency and add a new tight end. The Bucs re-structured Myers’ contract to reflect the role of a backup tight end, and also re-signed blocking tight end Luke Stocker, but that’s it. The Bucs aren’t expected to address the tight end position in the draft, either, which means it’s up to Seferian-Jenkins to produce in 2015 and live up to his potential after an injury-riddled rookie campaign that ended with him on injured reserve due to an ailing back.
Seferian-Jenkins will be a featured weapon in Koetter’s offense and he should return to the form he showed in Washington when he hauled in 146 catches for 1,840 yards and 21 touchdowns in three seasons for the Huskies. While Koetter has the reputation for developing pocket passers everywhere he’s gone, he has also made stars out of tight ends.
Koetter has a history of featuring the tight end, coaxing a 58-700-10 season out of Marcedes Lewis in 2010 to go along with the 176 catches for 1,965 yards and 16 touchdowns in two seasons with Tony Gonzalez in 2012-2013. Seferian-Jenkins had an injury-riddled rookie season, but is a breakout candidate in his second season with a new quarterback and offensive coordinator.
Friday, November 28, 2014, 6:04pm
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 7:23pm
For the most part, Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith heaps praise on his players. But he also can be brutally honest when asked about a player who is struggling.
That was the case Sunday as Smith talked about tight end Tim Wright.
"He hasn't played as well as Tim should be playing," Smith said. "He's dropped some balls. If you watched practice, he's dropped balls. But he's a big part of what we want to do with the two-receiver, two-tight-end set. Tim hasn't blocked as well inside. Once you're that H-back and you don't block, now they say you're just another receiver and teams start going nickel. If they do that at least you have to be a good pass catcher. Tim's a good player. He just hasn't played as well as he needs to lately."
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 10:44am
HC Lovie Smith discussed TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins...
“He's got great size,'' Smith said of quarterback Josh McCown's new 6-foot-7 target. “He can still work on his blocking, but he actually has hands. He's in our plans. You don't have to look real hard to like something the guy has done.”
The 38th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Seferian-Jenkins is still listed fourth on the tight end depth chart behind Brandon Myers, Tim Wright and Luke Stocker heading into Saturday night's home preseason game against Miami.
But on the practice field, a different story is unfolding as Seferian-Jenkins now finds himself working with the first-team offense on a regular basis.
There is opportunity in Tampa given the other tight ends on the roster, but rookie tight ends usually don't make much of a fantasy impact.
Buccaneers rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins might be the long-term answer. But he might not get a lot of playing time in the short term. Seferian-Jenkins wasn’t allowed to take part in the offseason program and that could put him behind the competition. Brandon Myers, Tim Wright and Luke Stocker all have more experience.
Rookie tight ends generally don't make much of a fantasy impact, but the Bucs definitely need a playmaker at the position.
"Tim is a guy I should have talked about more because he's another guy that does something well it seems like every day," Smith said. "Nowadays, with the emergence of the passing game and you've got to be able to pass to win and this good stuff, the matchup, though, tight end versus safety, tight end versus linebacker -- Tim, we have a good matchup with Tim Wright. He of course can do things in line, but he can split out, he can run all of the passing tree, he's natural moving out and running routes too. I'm very pleased with him and all he's done since Day 1. He's a guy that's been here every day and we've seen him doing that."
Although Austin Seferian-Jenkins' draft position (second round) probably makes him the favorite to win the starting job at tight end, there's room for Wright to get playing time. A wide receiver in college at Rutgers, Wright made the switch to tight end last year and caught 54 passes as a rookie.
The Bucs also have Brandon Myers and Luke Stocker at tight end. We don't know a lot about coordinator Jeff Tedford's offense just yet, but the Bucs have the potential to use a lot of two tight end sets.
The takeaway here is that Seferian-Jenkins won't be handed the starting role. Smith likes what Wright can do and the team went out and signed Brandon Myers as well. Rookie TEs generally don't do much from a fantasy standpoint, so Seferian-Jenkins may not live up to his draft position if fantasy owners expect him to start and contribute immediately.
With Tom Crabtree recently lost for the season, the Bucs now have three tight ends on injured reserve (Luke Stocker and Nate Byham already were there). Wright, who played wide receiver in college, already has made an impact. He has 34 catches for 366 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bucs almost certainly will add another tight end to the roster. But Wright’s playing time is going to keep increasing. He was viewed mostly as a receiver early in the year. But, now, Wright’s going to get a chance to be an every-down tight end.
Wright hasn't found the endzone since Week 9, but he had eight catches for 75 yards last week. He's back in the mix as a streaming option.
Monday, September 23, 2013, 5:09pm
The Bucs placed tight end Luke Stocker on injured reserve.
With Stocker gone for the season, the Bucs are thin at tight end. Nate Byham started in Stocker’s place Sunday. Tom Crabtree has missed the first three games with an ankle injury, but coach Greg Schiano said Monday that Crabtree is making progress. If Crabtree is healthy by Sunday, he could be the starter against the Arizona Cardinals.
Friday, September 20, 2013, 6:36pm
Thursday, September 19, 2013, 6:53pm
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 7:03pm
Thursday, August 29, 2013, 11:27pm
Crabtree was competing with Luke Stocker to start for the Bucs.
Monday, August 5, 2013, 1:13pm
Buccaneers tight end Luke Stocker (calf) was activated from the physically unable to perform list, meaning he can participate in practice. But HC Greg Schiano cautioned against assuming Stocker is ready to go.
“Progress is a good way to put it,” Schiano said. “He’s not ready to go, but he was taken off PUP because he was going to do some things with pads on, which is the rule. He’s moving in the right direction.”
Stocker was sidelined for full-team drills where contact was a part of the day’s practice.
Monday, July 15, 2013, 9:34pm
When discussing the tight end position for Tampa Bay, there’s a deeper conversation to be had. Luke Stocker might be the incumbent to the job and he’s the guy you’d most expect to become the so-called starter – he already knows the offense, he’s the highest draft pick in the group and he has ability – but Stocker has company.
Don’t be surprised when you start hearing more about guys like Nate Byham, Danny Noble and Zach Miller. None, including Stocker, is a very accomplished NFL player. But each has varying degrees of experience and intriguing skills.
The article mentioned that TE is not a position featured in OC Mike Sullivan’s scheme, but, Dallas Clark was targeted 76 times and caught 47 passes last season. Still, we predict Stocker to catch under 30 balls and he's ranked just 39th on our list.
Friday, December 21, 2012, 7:09pm
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