Throughout the franchise’s history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have boasted a number of outstanding tight ends. A previous great, a current impact player, and even a potential star are all represented on this list of former Buccaneers tight ends.
Given how much the tight end position is becoming a prominent focus in offensive systems today, one can only picture what this list would look like in a few years’ time if the trend continues. It doesn’t matter what happens in the future of the tight end position; these Tampa Bay players have created a legacy that can’t be taken away.
So, who is the greatest tight end in the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? The question is, which of these tight ends has made a lasting impression on Tampa. The following are my top five.
William Harris was a wide receiver for the St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Green Bay Packers from 1987 to 1990. In his career, Harris caught 12 passes for 110 yards and one touchdown.
He is an NFL receiver and blocker who holds multiple records, including becoming the first player of his position to lead the league in receiving touchdowns (17 in 2011). Gronkowski also holds the record for most career postseason receiving yards by a tight end (1,163) and is the only tight end in NFL history to do so.
He has 14 career playoff receiving touchdowns, the most by a tight end in Super Bowl history, as well as the most combined receptions (23) and receiving yards (297) by a tight end. Among tight ends, he leads the league in average receiving yards per game (68.3), average yards per target (9.9), and average touchdowns per game (0.69).
After Austin Seferian-Jenkins suffered a shoulder injury, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Brate from the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad to their active roster on September 22, 2015. Brate signed a one-year, $510,000 contract with the Buccaneers. Brate is the third tight end on the depth chart, behind Luke Stocker and Brandon Myers, according to head coach Lovie Smith.
During a 23–20 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8, Brate caught two catches for 48 yards and scored his first career touchdown. During the second quarter, Brate caught his first career touchdown pass, a 20-yard pass from Jameis Winston.
During a 25–12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12, he caught a season-high five catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. In 14 games and four starts, he concluded the season with 23 receptions for 288 yards and three touchdown grabs.
Dana Nafziger was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team from 1977 to 1982. In his career, Nafziger has nine receptions for 119 yards and zero touchdowns.
In 1992, he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He joined George Stewart’s tight end room and played in four games that season, gaining one ten-yard reception.
Dave Moore was a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1992 until 2006. Moore had a career total of 207 receptions for 2,028 yards and 28 touchdowns.