The Buccaneers made a pair of roster moves on Tuesday that added to a position that seemed to be at full strength and subtracted from one that has recently lost a player, as tight end Nate Byham comes aboard and defensive end Jeff Charleston departs. However, the addition of Byham might actually be addressing a specific need.
A sixth-round pick by San Francisco in 2010 who spent all of last year on injured reserve, Byham might not be a particularly familiar name to Buccaneer fans. But coming out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2010, he was considered one of the two or three best blocking tight ends available that year. Byham caught about 50 passes at Pitt but was best known for opening holes for the Panthers’ rushing attack, which is how he twice earned All-Big East honors in seasons where he caught 20 or fewer passes.
We’ll have to wait and see what develops on the practice field and on Sundays in the coming weeks, but the Bucs could be looking to get Byham involved in their offense right away as a blocker in two-TE sets. Luke Stocker is considered a strong blocker but co-starter Dallas Clark excels more in the passing game. Third tight end Danny Noble was impressive in training camp and has worked very hard on his blocking skills but wasn’t asked to do too much of that in college at Toledo.
The Bucs have been pleased with the work of rookie RB Doug Martin but think they need to create some more open space for him to create longer runs. Martin is currently averaging 3.5 yards per carry. The addition of a blocker who could help in two-TE sets might be part of the solution.