It's no secret that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to get better production at the tight end position. They struggled to get quality blocking, as Luke Stocker was mediocre both as a blocker and as a receiver, and Dallas Clark was their lone receiving threat. Clark is a free agent and did not look like a difference maker on offense. So where will the Buccaneers look for help? One surprising option would be Cincinnati Bearcats tight end Travis Kelce
Eric Stoner breaks it down for Rotoworld, and makes the tight end sound like the best player in this draft class:
Cincinnati senior Travis Kelce (younger brother of Eagles center, Jason Kelce) might have the most complete skillset of them all, though. A 6'6" 260 pound sledgehammer with speed and strength, Kelce will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as he goes through the pre-draft process.
Part of what makes Gronkowski such an impressive NFL tight end (and why Kelce compares favorably to him) is because he's a strong, technically sound, and tenacious blocker, and the Bearcats use his talents in a number of ways in their run game.
Read the entire Rotoworld article for a great breakdown of his strengths.
Even though he's most renowned for being a tenacious blocker, he averaged 3 catches per game for 55 receiving yards -- impressive production for a tight end primarily used as a blocker. With 45 catches for 722 yards on the season, Kelce exploded in his final season. And he saved the best for last, finishing his career at Cincinnati with 123 receiving yards in the Belk Bowl against Duke.
To be fair, though, I didn't see many special traits from Kelce as a receiver -- but I didn't see any poor traits either. In the two games I watched, his quarterback didn't give him the opportunity to make contested catches. That's one thing I'd like to see before recommending him as a high draft pick. But his quality as a blocker is undeniable, and if he can show his prowess in the Senior Bowl or in pre-draft workouts, he could jump up draft boards.
Still, Kelce may be an impressive blocker and he appears to have the speed to get down the field, his speed in and out of breaks is less than impressive. That doesn't mean he can't be very productive on the field, but it does mean he needs to discern himself by making those contested catches I mentioned. One thing I did see, though, was his ability get down the seam with speed, make a tough catch and take the ball down the field. That's something the Bucs lacked completely this season: seam throws appeared to be a thing of the past, and a large part of that was the inability of the tight ends to make vertical plays.
The Bucs want a tight end who can be both a blocker and a threat as a receiver, and Kelce may just be that kind of player. More so than Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz and Jordan Reed, who are mostly